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Japan, UK, Italy to set up body to jointly develop fighter jet | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

The defense ministers of Japan, Britain and Italy have agreed to set up an organization to coordinate the joint development of a next-generation fighter aircraft.

Japan’s Defense Minister Kihara Minoru, British Secretary of Defence Grant Shapps and Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto held talks in Tokyo on Thursday.

They confirmed the governments and industries of their countries will closely cooperate to accelerate the joint development with an aim to deliver the aircraft by 2035.

The joint project is called the Global Combat Air Programme, or GCAP, and the new body has been named the GCAP International Government Organisation, or GIGO.

After the talks, the defense ministers signed the convention on the establishment of the organization, to be made up of officials in charge of the project in each country.

Their joint statement says the headquarters of GIGO and a corresponding business framework will be based in Britain. The first chief executive of the GCAP organization will be from Japan, and the first chief executive officer of the business framework will be from Italy.

At a joint news conference, Japan’s defense minister called the program “historic.” Kihara said it will enable Japan, Britain and Italy, which he called like-minded countries, to combine their excellent technologies and share the costs and risks.

But some observers are voicing concern that Japan’s export restrictions for defense equipment and technology could pose a snag for the project.

Japan’s ruling coalition parties are discussing whether to ease the rules to allow exports of military hardware that will be jointly developed with other countries. But the coalition parties have yet to reach a conclusion on the issue.

Read More:Japan, UK, Italy to set up body to jointly develop fighter jet | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News