Japan, UK, Italy confirm cooperation to develop new fighter jet

Defense ministers of Japan, Britain and Italy have confirmed their close cooperation on an agreed joint project to develop a next-generation fighter jet.

Japanese Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu met British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto in Tokyo on Thursday.

The three nations struck the fighter deal in December. The new combat plane will replace the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force's F-2 fighter jets.

Hamada said at the beginning of the one-hour talks that the joint project will become the foundation of broader cooperation by the three countries for many generations. He said the collaboration will also significantly contribute to boosting global security.

Hamada said he wants to confirm unity among the three nations and their strong intent for the project.

The three ministers agreed in the meeting that their countries' governments and businesses will cooperate closely on the joint venture.

Senior officials from Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Britain's BAE Systems and Italy's Leonardo also attended the meeting. The three firms will take part in the development project.

Japan's defense ministry plans to deploy the new fighter aircraft by around 2035.