TOKYO — Japan’s Cabinet approved a record
The 5.31 trillion yen ($48.6 billion)
Among the most costly purchases in the draft are Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 stealth fighters. Under the 2020 budget plan, Japan is to buy six F-35B stealth fighter jets capable of short takeoff and vertical landing at a cost of 79.3 billion yen ($725 million). Those six are the first of 42 F-35Bs Japan plans to acquire in coming years.
Buying costly American weapons helps reduce Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S., a point of contention in Washington, but raises concerns at home that it will set back the country’s fledgling local
The 2020 draft does include 28 billion yen ($256 million) for the initial research into developing next generation fighter jets to replace aging F-2s that are expected to retire in the 2030s. Japan plans to develop its own engine, but is also considering co-developing some other parts with the U.S. and Britain to increase compatibility,
Japan also plans to buy three F-35As for 9.37 billion yen ($85.7 million) each as components for assembly at home, rather than as finished products that would cost slightly more. It will also allow the country to gain expertise.
To accommodate the F-35Bs, the
Despite its pacifist constitution, Japan’s
Abe has pushed for Japan’s Self-
Japan is now expected to send its naval troops to the Middle East to protect Japanese vessels transporting oil amid tension in the region.
Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi
Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press