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The United States and Japan launched a "regular defense industry consultation" mechanism


The theme of the meeting was to strengthen and accelerate joint research and development, production and maintenance of defense equipment. Among the main topics: Enhanced joint production of the Patriot-3 surface-to-air missile system to fill the gap in ammunition stocks brought to the U.S. military by continued assistance to Ukraine; maintenance of U.S. warships and aircraft by Japanese civilian enterprises and facilities; establishment of a new working group for combat pilot training and joint development of next-generation jet trainer aircraft; joint development of drones that will serve as "faithful wingmen" for the new generation of fighter jets jointly developed by Japan, Britain and Italy



In mid-June, at the Japanese Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, the governments of the United States and Japan held the first meeting of the "Japan-United States Defense Industry Cooperation, Procurement and Maintenance Regular Consultation." This meeting marked the beginning of the "defense industry regular consultation" mechanism between the United States and Japan, which will have a new impact on the regional security situation.


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Strengthening cooperation on equipment


The three-day conference, hosted by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Japanese Ministry of Defense, was attended and co-chaired by William LaPlante, U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Equipment Acquisition and Assurance, and Masatoshi Fukasawa, head of the Japanese Defense Equipment Agency.


The theme of the meeting was to strengthen and accelerate joint research and development, production and maintenance of defense equipment.

Among the main topics:

  • Enhanced joint production of the Patriot-3 surface-to-air missile system to fill the gap in ammunition stocks brought to the U.S. military by continued assistance to Ukraine;

  • maintenance of U.S. warships and aircraft by Japanese civilian enterprises and facilities;

  • establishment of a new working group for combat pilot training and joint development of next-generation jet trainer aircraft;

  • joint development of drones that will serve as "faithful wingmen" for the new generation of fighter jets jointly developed by Japan, Britain and Italy.


The contents of the negotiations between the two sides will be confirmed by the meeting of the US-Japan Security Advisory Committee which will be held as early as the end of July, and will then promote subsequent specific cooperation issues.


In April this year, at the Washington summit, the United States and Japan agreed to establish a mechanism for "regular defense industry consultations," focusing on the use of cutting-edge technologies and equipment development, procurement and maintenance, to strengthen the interoperability of defense equipment and deterrence of the U.S.-Japan alliance.


Subsequently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara held talks in Hawaii to coordinate the convening of the first meeting under this mechanism at the earliest possible date.


In terms of capital investment, in order to strengthen the defense equipment research and development system, the Japanese Ministry of Defense in the annual "defense force readiness plan" 2023-2027, will be about 3.5 trillion yen (about 22.4 billion U.S. dollars) as the budget for equipment research and development. The MoD's budget for equipment research and development is increasing year by year, from 291.1 billion yen in 2022 to 896.8 billion yen in 2023, and remains high at 822.5 billion yen in 2024. Especially in basic research, Japan's Ministry of Defense has given the green light to "security and defense-oriented adjustments," investing 18.8 billion yen in 2023 for 33 basic research projects, much more than the 9 billion yen in the previous year. This is much more than the 9 billion yen spent in the previous year.


In terms of mechanism development, Japan pays more attention to "public-private cooperation" to promote research and development of cutting-edge defense equipment and related technologies. The Japanese government believes that, under the constraints of the "post-war system", the application of scientific research results of local governments and private enterprises to the development of defense equipment can liberate more usable and efficient "gray areas" and "revolutionary spaces". can also make further progress.


Rapidly develop advanced technologies that will “change future combat models.” In order to promote the participation of private institutions in high-tech military research and development, the Japanese Ministry of Defense plans to establish a new innovative research and management organization, the "Defense Innovation Technology Research Institute", this year. based on the US institute, which will have the task of exploring civil technologies with potential military applications. More than half of the new agency's staff will come from private Japanese companies. The agency will turn to universities, companies and other units to select research projects capable of realizing technological innovations in the military field for investment. The annual support funds for each project can reach tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of yen.


Far-reaching impact


In future negotiations, the Japanese government hopes to share hypersonic missile interception technology with the United States and deepen cooperation with the United States in the production and upgrading of next-generation fighter aircraft and the development of drones.


Many analysts believe that expanding cooperation in the field of defense equipment is an important measure to deepen military integration between the United States and Japan.


As for the United States, by taking advantage of Japan's experience and industrial manufacturing capacity in maintaining US-made equipment, it can maintain the shipment rate and inventory levels of weapons and equipment of US troops stationed in the Asia-Pacific region. Pacific, especially in Japan, without significantly increasing investment, maintaining the mobility of military intervention in the region's hot spots and rapid response capabilities will be significantly improved.


As for Japan, the Japanese government is likely to continue to review the "Three Principles of Defense Equipment Transfer" and its implementation guidelines, and further lift the ban on the production and export of defense equipment.


As for Japan, the government is likely to continue to amend the "three principles of defense equipment transfer" and its implementation guidelines, further lifting the ban on defense equipment production and export. Defense equipment produced and manufactured in Japan will likely be supplied to conflict zones directly or through the United States.


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