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US transports dozens of new fighter jets to Japan

Image Source: CNN

The US Department of Defense announced a significant military upgrade involving Japan, aimed at reinforcing regional security and bolstering the US-Japan Alliance in the Indo-Pacific. Valued at $10 billion, this initiative will unfold over several years and includes deploying advanced fighter jets to key bases.

At Misawa Air Base in northern Japan, 48 cutting-edge F-35A fighters will replace the aging fleet of 36 F-16s, while Kadena Air Base in Okinawa will receive 36 new F-15EX jets, replacing 48 older F-15C/D models phased out over the past year. Additionally, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Honshu Island will see adjustments to its deployment of F-35B aircraft, although specific numbers were not disclosed.

The Pentagon emphasized that stationing these state-of-the-art aircraft in Japan underscores the unwavering US commitment to Japan’s defense and to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. This move comes at a critical juncture as Japan faces security challenges from neighboring countries like China, Russia, and North Korea, each posing distinct threats.

Japan’s strategic importance to the US is underscored by its geographical proximity to potential flashpoints, such as territorial disputes with Russia and China, and the ongoing missile threat from North Korea. The situation around Taiwan, a democratic island that China aims to bring under its control, remains a focal point of concern due to its implications for regional stability and Japan’s security, particularly concerning energy supply routes that pass nearby.

Okinawa, situated approximately 450 miles from Taiwan, hosts crucial US and Japanese air bases, highlighting its strategic role in regional security dynamics. The modernization effort not only aims to enhance defense capabilities but also to strengthen bilateral ties, recognizing Japan as a linchpin in maintaining peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region amidst evolving geopolitical challenges.

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