• Kyodo

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The technology ministry will launch research and development in fiscal 2015 aimed at commercializing next-generation domestically manufactured passenger airplanes by around 2030, according to ministry officials.

Although Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. is developing small MRJ passenger jets, aircraft development requires a huge amount of money and cannot always be done by private companies alone. Therefore, they said, the government will take the initiative in expanding Japan’s aircraft industry as the global market grows.

The industry, worth around about ¥1 trillion, owns only a 4 percent share of the global market currently.

The government hopes to expand the industrial scale tenfold to enable the nation to have a 20 percent share of the global market through the development of domestically manufactured aircraft.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will cooperate with other ministries, such as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to that end.

The project is envisioned to develop a next-generation small-sized airplane with 230 or fewer seats and small but high-output engines. With a light body designed to be less air-resistant, its fuel efficiency is expected to be twice that of current aircraft and it will make a tenth the noise and boast greater safety features, the officials said.

Demonstration experiments are expected to take place with experimental aircraft of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and MRJ jets.

The government will consider whether to update the experiment facility at JAXA, such as revamping the wind tunnels, or build a new one in the next fiscal year, which starts April 2015. The industry ministry plans to use domestic parts while the transport and foreign ministries will cooperate for the sake of safety.

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