Friday, December 16, 2011

A Plane Without A Policy, Revisited

Today's Tokyo Shimbun editorial "Making Japan's Next Generation Fighter The Unfinished F-35: Is This Safe?" (Jiki sentoki mikansei F35 de daijobu ka - Link) lists a series of problems with the rumored decision of the Government of Japan to procure F-35 Lightning II's as replacements for its aged F-4 fighters.

The Tokyo Shimbun's main arguments are not the usual ones about the range of technical problems and delays that have plagued the program so far. Instead, the editors worry about the way the cost of each plane will be calculated, if the heretofore undeployed aircraft can even be delivered to Japan at the promised time.

What makes the editorial bite, however, is its final paragraph, where the editors go out on a limb to point fingers at who seems to responsible for the F-35 decision -- and it is not the usual or proper policy makers:


One has the strong fear that Japan is being led in ridiculous direction by the reckless defensiveness of an Air Self Defense Force that says, "We want a cutting-edge aircraft."

What was it that our current Defense Minister Ishikawa Yasuo said, that his ignorance of military affairs was the very essence of civilian control of the military?

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