Japan's Diet approves pact to launch liaison body for joint fighter jet program

Japan's Diet has approved a treaty to set up an organization that will coordinate development of a next-generation fighter jet with Britain and Italy.

The Upper House of the Diet gave the approval at its plenary session on Wednesday, with a majority in favor.

The move won the backing of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito, as well as the opposition Constitutional Democratic Party and Japan Innovation Party.

A project called the Global Combat Air Programme, or GCAP, will develop the fighter. The three countries had agreed to set up the liaison body, named "GCAP International Government Organization," or GIGO.

GIGO will be headquartered in Britain with a Japanese national set to serve as its first leader.

The treaty specifies contributions for the operating budget and the dispatch of government personnel to the body.

Several hundred people are expected to work at the new organization. The Japanese government plans to send officials and engineers from the Defense Ministry as well as Air Self-Defense Force personnel. The number of personnel has yet to be decided.

GIGO will be inaugurated in autumn at the earliest and start arrangements with participating firms and work on a development schedule.