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Japan aims to deploy unmanned fighter jets in 2035

Aircraft designed to counter China's superiority in numbers

A rendering of Japan's next-generation fighter jet: The Defense Ministry aims to deploy drones to complement these new aircraft. (Nikkei montage/source photo from Ministry of Defense via Kyodo)

TOKYO -- Japan has begun to develop unmanned, remote-controlled fighter aircraft capable of breakneck maneuvers that will be deployed as early as 2035, bracing for further advancements in China's military technologies and the rise of drone warfare.

Currently, Tokyo stands outmanned and outgunned by its larger neighbor. China possesses more than 1,000 fourth-generation fighter jets that can reach supersonic speeds, about triple as many as Japan, according to the Defense Ministry. It has also began deploying fifth-generation stealth fighters.

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