Japan nears the end of its F-22 courtship

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Like a lover who embarked on an unfulfilled courtship, Japan nears the end of its F-22 dream

Lockheed Martin’s chief financial officer Bruce Tanner, when asked by analysts about the prospects for overseas sales, was pessimistic. “I’m not particularly positive on the ability for us to make [an F-22 export deal] happen in the next few years,” he said. Given that the Senate has voted to end funding for the Raptor, it appears as though it is literally the end of the line.

It should not be a surprise. Given the amount of opposition to exports and the fact that it would have cost up to $250 million to develop an exportable version of the stealth fighter, Japan would have had to move mountains to get the aircraft and received better value elsewhere.

The 30 August general elections in Japan look like they may result in a new government. Let’s just hope that they will be able to move beyond the F-22 and get on with the much-needed F-X competition as soon as they can.

The reality is that the closest they are probably going to get to the Raptor is when the fighters are on exercise at Kadena air base in Japan (see video below).

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3 Responses to Japan nears the end of its F-22 courtship

  1. Dave 23 July, 2009 at 2:51 am #

    Personally, I just don’t see why they have such a fixation on buying the f-22 in the first place. For a supposedly pacifist nation, the F-22 is a whole lot of very offensive hardware. Considering their history of aggression, I have to wonder if Japan ever does manage to get the F-22, how China and Korea will respond? Both still bear scars from Japanese aggression, neither can be thrilled at the prospect.

  2. Siva Govindasamy 23 July, 2009 at 11:12 am #

    It is interesting. They appear to covet the F-22 like as though it is something for the trophy cabinet.

    But the other thing is that the F-22 primarily works as a deterrant, and that will help Japan against the likes of North Korea. Yes, China and South Korea are not going to be happy. But they will be unhappy with anything that Japan does, I reckon.

    At the end of the day, I think the Japanese realise (and the Americans have been telling them) that they have to take more responsibilty for their own defence and that means getting more newer hardware.

  3. Dave 23 July, 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    That’s very much the case- and the underlying reason as to why they covet the Raptor so is the problem. It’s the Japanese sense of racial and cultural superiority that drives their desire to acquire top line fighter and other military hardware.

    It does act as kind of deterrent- it certainly could be argued that way. But to much of the world, the West, and particularly the US, is not seen as the benevolent force that we have as our own self image. Many see us as bullies- and with good reason in a lot of cases. Japan, of course, is the only non-caucasian major nation in that club- and only helps enhance their sense of superiority- racial and cultural.

    The points is use it looks from the Western perspective that the Japanese are deterring a threat- and with regard to North Korea, that probably true. However, to the rest of the region, it looks frighten to see their old Japanese foe arming themselves to the teeth- especially when this is a nation that refuses to deal with their crimes in the same way Germany has.

    Using the American pressure to “take responsibility” for their own defense may backfire since there is a possibility it might be an excuse to revive Japanese militarism.

    They already have a pretty vile alternative version of history that they teach at in their classrooms. Not to mention the Yasukuni Shrine and the museum of the same- where they have warped version of history they peddle.

    I for one am not thrilled at the prospect of aiding and abetting Japanese feeling of racism.

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