Japan allows domestic corp to produce F-35 parts

Updated: 2013-03-01 14:06


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TOKYO - The Japanese government on Friday allowed domestic companies to manufacture and export parts of F-35 stealth fighter jet, raising concerns that such exports would go against Japan's policy of avoiding aggravation in international conflicts.

The decision was made in a government security meeting Friday morning and Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the choice will help improve the country's self-defense related manufacture and technology.

However, oppositions criticized the move goes against Japan's ban on arms exports, saying countries involved in conflicts, such as Israel which plans to acquire the fighters, may get F-35s with Japan-made parts.

The Japanese government upholds the principle of embargoing exports of weapons to countries involved in international conflicts as a criterion of being a pacifist country since 1967 and the government comprehensively banned weapon exports in 1976.

Suga also said the decision will also help reduce F-35 costs as the country planned to purchase a total of 42 such fighter jets to replace its dated F-4 fighters.

Japan has signed a contract with the United States to buy four F-35 jets last June and the most advanced fighters will be handed over to Japan in 2016.