NewsJapan eases export rules for AI-enhanced fighter jets developed with UK, Italy

Japan eases export rules for AI‑enhanced fighter jets developed with UK, Italy

Japan approved the export of new fighters, which it is working on together with the United Kingdom and Italy.
Japan approved the export of new fighters, which it is working on together with the United Kingdom and Italy.
Images source: © Getty Images | 2023 Anadolu

6:11 AM EDT, March 26, 2024

Japan has now given the green light for the export of cutting-edge fighters developed in collaboration with the United Kingdom and Italy. This partnership embarks on creating next-generation jets enhanced with artificial intelligence. However, Tokyo mandates that each sale of these sophisticated aircraft must receive explicit government approval.
In a significant policy shift, the Japanese government has relaxed its arms export rules, facilitating the sale of these state-of-the-art fighters to allied nations bound by defense agreements. This amendment specifically applies to the jet fighters sanctioned by the government and extends to 15 countries that have formal defense equipment transfer agreements with Tokyo, according to Reuters. Importantly, the Japanese officials have made it clear that these sales will exclude any nations currently engaged in conflicts.
December 2022 marked the tri-nation collaboration between Japan, Great Britain, and Italy under the Tempest project, as reported by the BBC. This ambitious initiative aims to engineer a futuristic fighter jet empowered by artificial intelligence and cutting-edge sensors to support pilots. The Associated Press has revealed that these aircraft are intended to replace the aging F-2 fighters, a joint American endeavor, and the Eurofighter Typhoons, which are currently in use by the British and Italian forces. The rollout of these jets is anticipated by 2035.
Despite these advancements in military technology, Japan remains steadfast in its pacifist stance. "The plan to produce fighters integral to our nation's security must proceed without compromising our defense capabilities," stated Japanese government spokesperson Yoshimasa Hayashi, as quoted by the BBC. In alignment with this principle, defense minister Minoru Kihara has reiterated Japan's dedication to its pacifist ethos. Consequently, the export of these combat aircraft will be meticulously regulated by stringent decision-making processes.
Recent surveys, as mentioned by the Associated Press, indicate that the public remains divided over the easing of arms export restrictions. Following World War II, Japan embraced a policy of political pacifism, with its constitution formally renouncing military force except for self-defense purposes.
*Source: BBC, Reuters, AP*
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