Japan Advanced Air Superiority Aircraft

| October 6, 2007

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Japan is a wonderful and fascinating place. It has a long proud tradition of a warrior culture, that at the end of WW2 was invalidated and pushed to the far corners of Japanese society. Japan was all about peace and happiness. With a huge US presence in multiple bases across Japan, the people shifted their focus from Bushido and towards taking their place as a significant world power.

In recent years Japan has begun to wonder if the US is really willing to do what it takes to secure it’s shores against new regional threats from China and North Korea. While they have worked hard over many generations to extract and expunge the notion of self reliance on the strength of Japan and only Japan to secure it’s lands, the way of the warrior has begun to re-surface.

In the past few years there has been significant public debate over the changing role of the Japanese military (including deployments to Iraq) and just how far they are willing to go. Many people are rightfully afraid of the specter of an aggressive Japan once again asserting it’s control over Asia.

Now today comes word that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, makers of the famous WW2 Zero Sen, are working on a prototype of an advanced air superiority aircraft.

From the International Herald Tribune:

Report: Japan to develop stealth fighter jets

TOKYO: Japan is set to develop its own next-generation stealth fighter jets to reduce its dependence on foreign technology and counter similar moves by China and Russia, a news report said Saturday.

Japan, which wants to replace its aging fighter fleet, has also made overtures to Washington on the possibility of purchasing the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter.

However, the U.S. Congress has repeatedly banned the sale of the plane to any foreign government, in an attempt to safeguard the country’s advanced technology.

Japan’s air force has been searching for replacements for its aging fleet of F-4s and F-15s. Options include three U.S.-made planes — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-18 and advanced F-15s — as well as the Eurofighter Typhoon.

One thing to note is Washinton’s role in all of this. As China becomes more of a power, they are seeking for ways to keep them in check without increasing commitments of US forces. Japan is an easy proxy here. They have no love for China culturally, and have conquered China several times in the past. With North Korea (China’s proxy) acting like idiots on a regular basis, it is very easy for Japan to begin to re-examine it’s need for an active and vigorous defense.

I will go out on a limb here and state that the world is a better place where Japan is an economic power that out sources it’s defense to the US military. But in our increasingly retro-60’s mentality, the role of our forces is likely to suffer, and a stronger, better armed Japan is one possible result.

I am not sure the world is ready for what Japan could do if they would apply themselves to developing combat robot technology, miniaturization of nuclear weapons, or autonomous offensive / defensive systems.

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Category: Geopolitics, History, Military

About the Author ()

Bruce Henderson is a former Marine who focuses custom data mining and visualization technologies on the economy and other disasters.

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