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The Diet OK international treaty on the next generation of fighter jets

Courtesy of the Ministry of Defense
A view of the next generation fighter jet being developed by Japan, the United Kingdom and Italy

TOKYO (Jiji Press) – The Diet on Wednesday approved an international treaty to establish an intergovernmental organization to manage the joint development of the next-generation fighter jet by Japan, Britain and Italy.

The treaty received majority approval at a plenary meeting of the House of Councilors, with mainly support from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, its partner Komeito and the main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan. The House of Representatives approved the treaty last month.

Under the joint development project called the Global Combat Air Program, Japan, Britain and Italy will establish the GCAP International Government Organization, or GIGO, under the treaty.

The entity’s headquarters will be located in London. The first leader will likely be of Japanese nationality.

The organization will be the body that concludes related contracts with companies, bundling work handled separately by the three countries. This is expected to help improve the efficiency of activities such as managing development and production plans.

In March, the government revised its implementation guidelines for the Three Principles for the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology to enable the export of next-generation combat aircraft to third countries. The planned organization will support such exports.

The next generation fighter will be sixth generation, which will follow current aircraft, including the state-of-the-art F-35 fighter.

Japan views the targeted fighter as the successor to the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter and aims to complete its development in the 2035 budget year.

The three countries are expected to hold further discussions on the performance of the planned fighter as detailed design progresses.

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