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World Aviation Defense & Security News - Japan
US plans to deploy 16 F-35 fighter jets to Japan in 2017
The Japanese government informed the city of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture on Monday that the United States plans to deploy 16 F-35 fighters at the US military base there from January to August next year, unveiled today the local newspaper Japan Times. It would mark the first time for that stealth aircraft to be stationed overseas.
US plans to deploy 16 F 35 fighter jets in Japan in 2017 640 001Formation flying qualities test by U.S. Marine Corps test pilot Maj. C. R. Clift in BF-2 and Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burks in BF-4 on Aug. 22, 2012
(Credit: NAVAIR)
The (F-35) deployment is simply upgrading the type of aircraft and is not linked to the U.S. military realignment” in Japan agreed by Tokyo and Washington in 2006, Shunsuke Takei, the country's parliamentary vice foreign minister, said during their meeting, which was open to the media.

The Iwakuni base is also expected to accommodate 59 carrier-borne fighter jets from the US Navy’s Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, around next year, in line with the realignment of US forces in Japan agreed by Tokyo and Washington in 2006. The move is viewed as further strengthening the base’s functions.

The U.S. plans to replace the F/A-18 fighters and the AV-8 Harrier jets at the Marine Corps’ Air Station Iwakuni with the F-35B, a variant of the F-35 fighters capable of short takeoffs and vertical landings.

(Source: The Japan Times)