U.S. to send dozens of advanced fighter jets to Japan amid growing Asia tensions


July 3 (UPI) — The Pentagon announced Wednesday it will deploy dozens of advanced fighter jets to multiple bases in Japan as part of a modernization plan amid growing tensions with China, North Korea and Russia.

The Defense Department said in a statement that 36 F-15EX Eagles will be deployed to the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan, replacing 48 F-15C/D Eagles “as part of a planned divestment and modernization.”

Forty-eight F-35A Lightning II fifth-generation fighters will also be deployed to the Misawa Air Base in Japan’s northeastern prefecture of Aomori. They will be replacing 36 F-16 Fighting Falcons.

Without specifying, the Pentagon added it would be altering the number of F-35B aircraft at the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in support of “the Service’s force design modernization implementation.”

The Pentagon said the announcement was made in close coordination with Japan and is part of a modernization plan to be implemented over the next several years that reflects “over $10 billion of capability investments to enhance the U.S.-Japan alliance, bolster regional deterrence and strengthen peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The United States during the Biden administration has sought to bolster its military presence in the Indo-Pacific as well as relations with Asian allies amid growing global competition with an emboldened China and as North Korea has become even more belligerent not only in rhetoric but in action as it continues its ballistic missile launches.

Meanwhile, Russia, at war with Ukraine, has grown closer to both Beijing and Pyongyang as international sanctions over its invasion have greatly isolated it from the democratic world.

Last month, the two Cold War allies signed a NATO-style treaty vowing to come to the other’s defense if attacked.

The Pentagon on Thursday said its plan to station its most advanced tactical aircraft in Japan “demonstrates the ironclad U.S. commitment to the defense of Japan and both countries’ shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”



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