TOKYO Feb 22 Japan has repeatedly warned
the United States against price rises in Lockheed Martin Corp's
new F-35 fighter jet, its top government spokesman said
on Wednesday, after U.S. and Lockheed officials noted delays in
orders will increase its total cost.
The comments from Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura
come after Japan's Sankei newspaper cited unidentified U.S.
government officials as saying that Japan had threatened that it
may even cancel its orders if prices climbed.
Japan picked the F-35 as its next mainstay fighter in
December, choosing it over combat-proven but less stealthy
"When we were selecting the fighter, we asked those making
the proposals to strictly observe their proposed prices and
supply schedules. Japan has conveyed this to the U.S. from time
to time," Fujimura told a news conference.
The Pentagon last week confirmed plans to put off orders for
179 F-35s over the next five years to save $15.1 billion, a move
that Lockheed executive vice president Tom Burbage told Reuters
would increase the price of the plane somewhat.
Canadian officials have been told the price of their jets
would increase by a nominal percentage amount "in the low single
digits" as a result of the U.S. slowdown.
Japan's Defense Ministry has said each jet would cost 8.9
billion yen ($112 million), or 9.9 billion yen including spare
parts. The ministry plans to buy 4 jets in the year beginning in
April and 42 units eventually.
($1 = 79.7500 Japanese yen)
(Editing by Edwina Gibbs)