Newly appointed Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya, who has long been a key defense policymaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, distanced himself Thursday from its earlier proposal that Japan should consider doubling its defense budget and procuring an aircraft carrier and F-35B stealth jets.
Iwaya, a Lower House member elected from Oita Prefecture, was a key member of the LDP’s policy panel on defense affairs before he was appointed defense minister in Tuesday’s Cabinet reshuffle.
“Of course, I have participated in the discussions at the party and will certainly take into consideration the proposals from the ruling LDP,” Iwaya said during his first joint interview with media outlets Thursday at the Defense Ministry.
But nothing has been decided yet about what weapons should be procured, Iwaya said, although “the names of some equipment such as a multipurpose mother ship and F-35B have been floated,” he noted.
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