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International relations

F-15 pricey upgrade puts thorn in side of Japan-US alliance

Project stalls as defense chief says Tokyo 'cannot spend money it doesn't have'

A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber is flanked by F-15 jets from Japan's Air Self-Defense Force. Japan sees modernizing the jets as key to maintaining air superiority. (Photo courtesy of the ASDF)

TOKYO -- The U.S. and Japan showcased the strength and unity of their alliance during last week's summit, but one particular sentence in the joint leaders' statement that followed the meeting conceals a sore spot in the relationship.

The document said that Japan "resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities." This commitment includes modernizing the Air Self-Defense Force's F-15 jets in a plan seen as crucial for maintaining air superiority.

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