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TOKYO: Japan on Friday said it would purchase an F-35 stealth jet as its next-generation fighter jet despite its higher price, Xinhua news agency quoted local media as saying.
Japan plans to acquire a total of 42 jets with the first four delivered by 2016. Each aircraft is set to cost about 10.2 billion yen (about US$128 million), according to reports.
The Japanese government in December decided to obtain the F-35 stealth jet, developed by the United States and eight other countries, as its next-generation fighter jet.
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets will replace the country's 40-year-old fleet of F-4s.
Critics in the country are worried about the potential increase of costs as the jet is still under development.
Former Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka warned that Japan might cancel the purchase in case of a price hike or delivery delay in February. -- BERNAMA