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Aerospace & Defense Industries

New era for Japan's defense sector? Mitsubishi Heavy leads charge

Homegrown fighter jet project brings hope to long-struggling industry

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will lead development of the replacement for the F-2, which will be decommissioned starting in 2035. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Air Self-Defense Force)

TOKYO -- Long relegated to producing U.S.-developed aircraft on contract, Japan's defense industry is aiming to turn the page by building a homegrown fighter jet under the lead of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Despite ever-growing geopolitical threats, Japan's defense contractors for years have struggled to achieve financial success. The new project could prove a turning point for the industry, though obstacles like a cutthroat bidding process and rising imports remain.

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