TOKYO -- Japan's first F-35 stealth fighter jet, which underwent final assembly in the country, was unveiled at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries' Minami Komaki Plant in Aichi Prefecture on June 5. But Japan's expectations for a larger role in the aircraft's production remain unfulfilled.
The F-35 is the Air Self-Defense Force's next-generation, mainstay fighter plane. The Defense Ministry plans to import four assembled F-35s, but this time components manufactured abroad were imported and assembled here. During the ministry's selection process for the next mainstay fighter, the Japanese defense industry requested a role producing some parts. But things are not going as planned.