I was recently reading some Japan Times articles on the F-35 and F-3 fighter acquisitions by Japan, and would like to encourage further teamwork between the U.S. and Japan.
Many people believe that Japan receives technology from the U.S. military, but this assumption is not always accurate. Japan often provides very useful military technology to the U.S.
In the 1990s the U.S. and Japan worked with one another on the very successful Japanese F-2 fighter. Most people assume that the F-2 is a copy of the F-16 due to their very similar appearance. But the truth is that the F-2 greatly surpassed the F-16 in every way. The technology from the F-2 was transferred back to the U.S. and used to completely redesign the F-16 using the far more advanced materials, electronics and engines from the Japanese F-2. Modern F-16s have far more in common with the F-2 than they do with their own predecessors.
This fact should be remembered any time Japan discusses technology transfer with the U.S., as Japan has proven that it can be trusted to provide excellent results that benefit both countries.
Do not hesitate to remind U.S. leadership of the success of the F-2 program. Current U.S. military leadership is far more open-minded to importing technology than most people assume. Over the last decade the U.S. military leadership has shown significant interest in imported improvements, and this has resulted in a significant number of imported designs being adopted for U.S. military use.
Further teamwork between the U.S. and Japan may assist the U.S. just as much as it assists Japan. This should not be ignored by either side.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.