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From The Japan Times:

’08 defense budget boost eyed for new jets, PAC-3s
Kyodo News
Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007

The Defense Ministry plans to seek ¥4.82 trillion in budgetary appropriations for fiscal 2008, an increase of 0.7 percent from the initial budget for the current fiscal year that began April 1.

The budgetary request, reported Wednesday morning at a joint meeting of defense-related committees of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, includes ¥112.3 billion for upgrading the Air Self-Defense Force’s fleet of fighter jets.

Originally planned for next spring, the selection of next-generation fighters has been delayed because of stalled negotiations with the United States over sales to Japan of the state-of-the-art F-22A Raptor stealth fighter.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved in late July a draft defense budget for fiscal 2008 that maintains a clause to ban the export of the Raptor.

The move is believed to reflect U.S. concerns about the possible leak of sensitive U.S. technology if the advanced stealth fighter is sold to Japan.

In anticipation of the bid of the next-generation fighter, Japan has its own indigenous project underway: ‘Shinshin’. It has been under development as ATDX at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, responsible for the infamous Zero, and licensee of many of the ASDF’s fighters: F15J, F2, F1 and F4EJ.


Japan to build stealth jet in five years
Sat Aug 11, 2:50 AM ET

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s defense ministry has decided to build a stealth fighter and wants a first test flight within five years, a news report said.

The move could concern Washington as Japan is a major customer of US defense equipment, the Tokyo Shimbun said.

A defence ministry official has previously said Japan was looking at six models of aircraft including the Raptor, the Eurofighter, designed by a European consortium, and the F-35, built by the United States and Britain.

The Japanese government has not supported development of a domestic fighter aircraft since the F-1 support fighter jet in the 1970s.

F-15 fighter jets, which form the core of Japan’s fighter force, are being manufactured here under a licence agreement with the United States.

MHI has been developing the jet with French help, who have been testing the Radar Cross-Section (the size and shape of the plane when viewed on a radar display). The plane looks a lot like the F22 Raptor, although there are some key differences in wing- and tail-shape. Compare the two for yourself:

ShinshinThis is the ATD-X, it appears to be the missing link between the F15 and the F22 (click for image).

It remains to be seen whether the Japanese government will take it up, 0ne can only wonder where they would find the case. For a number of years, Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) has taken up a lion’s share of the budget, and continues to do so. Modernising its fighter-interceptor fleet is very important, particularly in light of its neighbours’ efforts.

KFXIn Korea, they are working on the KFX, a stealth fighter programme to mature in 2017. The Air Force is itching to get its hands on it (currently planned for 2021), although the costs are horrendous (some $12 bil.) It looks a bit like a Typhoon or Rafale with its canard wings.

Meanwhile, China is developing the J-XX. It is currently a contest between Shenyang J-12 ( and the Chengdu J-13. Both have canard wings (is there something these countries know that we don’t?)

Of course, we shouldn’t forget why Japan might not be able to buy the F22. I have previously touched upon the distinct sieve quality of the SDF, but developments have been under way on this front.

Japan navy raided over data leak scandal
By MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press Writer
Mon Aug 27, 11:25 PM ET

TOKYO – Police raided a Japanese naval base Tuesday to investigate an alleged leak of sensitive warship technology data shared between Japan and the United States, defense officials said.

The leak involves U.S.-developed technology for the Aegis radar systems used on several Japanese destroyers and U.S. warships carrying missile interceptors. Investigators believe the information was circulated among Japanese naval academy students.

Civilian and navy police searched for evidence at places including a main naval base in the southern city of Sasebo, said Hiromitsu Hanada, spokesman for the Maritime Self-Defense Forces in Tokyo.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that investigators were also raiding the homes and offices of senior navy officials in the city of Yokosuka near Tokyo.

Prefectural and navy investigators believe that computer disks containing classified data were illegally copied and circulated among dozens of students and instructors at a naval academy, the First Service School, in the western city of Etajima.

Tuesday’s search was the second over the scandal. Authorities had earlier raided the navy academy, Hanada said. No arrests have been made, he said.

The case first surfaced in March, when police found one of the disks at the home of a Japanese naval officer in Kanagawa during a separate investigation into his Chinese wife’s immigration status.

And more:

Another MSDF officer suspected in Aegis data leak
Kyodo News
Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007

Investigators suspect that another lieutenant commander in the Maritime Self-Defense Force was involved in the leak of classified data on the Aegis combat system that was revealed earlier this year, police and MSDF sources said.

The sensitive data and documents were found in January at a home of a crewman who did not have proper security clearance. A separate lieutenant commander was initially suspected of giving him the information.

The documents, which were recorded on a hard disk, were found during an investigation into the Chinese wife of the crewman, who is a petty officer 2nd class. The Chinese woman was suspected of violating the immigration law.

The material included data subject to the Japanese-U.S. mutual defense assistance agreement, and was produced around 2000 by an MSDF unit in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. The unit develops and services computer systems for Aegis ships, reconnaissance aircraft and other equipment.

The material was designed for use in training MSDF cadets learning to handle the Aegis vessels’ advanced air defense systems.

The lieutenant commander in question belonged to the computer system unit for about 1 1/2 years between 2001 and 2003 and made trips to the United States to study the Aegis system, the sources said.

The Yomiuri made it clear that this should come as no surprise (how true!):

MSDF’s lax info control threatens natl security
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Aug. 29, 2007

Why on earth was such important information, classified as “special defense secrets” handled so carelessly?

On Tuesday, the Kanagawa prefectural police and the MSDF’s internal investigation unit searched the Shimakaze and other locations on suspicion of a violation of the law concerning protection of information in connection with the Japan-U.S. Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement.

It was the fourth such search conducted with the aim of establishing a criminal case. Since the investigation started seven months ago, the routes of the leaked information have been mostly identified. The results of the investigation show the lack of a sense of alertness in an organization tasked with defending our nation.


Ministry must take more care

The case first emerged when the prefectural police seized a PC hard disk in a search of the home of a petty officer 2nd class in connection with a visa violation allegedly committed by the petty officer’s Chinese wife.

How far did the leaked information spread before it reached the petty officer 2nd class? The data could have been leaked to parties outside the MSDF.

Newly appointed Defense Minister Masahiko Komura said at a press conference: “All Japanese administrative bodies treat information too lightly. This could have an effect on the nation’s international relations.”

The Defense Ministry should be the government body that is the most sensitive and careful about information management. The ministry must tighten up its information management.


Ties with U.S. affected

In mentioning a possible “effect on the nation’s international relations,” Komura doubtless was referring to Japan’s relations with the United States. But the effects of the case are already evident.

The United States is carefully considering whether to export the F-22 to Japan, and one of the reasons behind its cautious stance apparently is the scandal over the MSDF’s leak of Aegis data. Washington apparently is concerned that top-secret high-tech information about the F-22 may be compromised if the fighter is exported to Japan.

In response to the scandal, the Defense Ministry has decided to integrate the intelligence security commands at the three branches of the Self-Defense Forces into one new organization next fiscal year. The organizational laxity that allowed key U.S. naval information to reach a sailor of such lowly rank as a petty officer 2nd class must be corrected.

The careless attitude of “treating information too lightly” has had a serious impact on Japan’s national security. This reality must be recognized and addressed.

For too long, Japan has been too careless. For a country that spends so much on defence with such close ties to the US, it cannot afford to be subject to such scandals. Firm ‘Official Secrets’-type acts, such as we have in the UK, should be drafted, and the counter-espionage and information security bodies of all government institutions, be it the SDF, MoD, or PSIA should be beefed up in the relevant areas so that they can target these leaks.

However, the first step has to be common sense. Good operational security protocols are needed in SDF facilities, and the computers should have their I/O capabilities limited or at least monitored. God only knows how far this data could go in the wrong hands! For the time being, Japan looks to be saved by the immaturity of its recruits. The culprits must be apprehended and punished so that the lesson is clear: you cannot steal secrets.

Thanks to: InventorSpot, Japan Probe, Manoeuvre in Maritime Asia



  1. Guys! I wish you a luck with development your own fighter! Do it better than that “flying misunderstanding” F-22.

    • Posted December 23, 2007 at 4:04 pm
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