Diet OK’s Intl Treaty on Next-Gen Fighter Jet

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

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Diet Wednesday approved an international treaty to set up an intergovernmental organization managing the joint development of the next-generation fighter jet by Japan, Britain and Italy.

The treaty gained majority approval at a plenary meeting of the House of Councillors, with backing mainly 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 set up the GCAP International Government Organization, or GIGO, according to the treaty.

The entity will be headquartered in London. Its first leader is set to be a Japanese national.

The organization will be the body to conclude related contracts with companies, unifying work that has been handled individually by the three countries. It is expected to help improve the efficiency of operations such as the management of development and production plans.

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

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

Japan regards the envisioned fighter as the successor to the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-2 fighter and aims to complete its development in fiscal 2035.

The three countries are expected to hold further discussions on the performance of the planned fighter, while detailed designing work progresses.