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Image: jsf.mil

The Defense Ministry has indicated to the U.S. Department of Defense the possibility of halting purchases of the F-35 stealth jet, which Japan has picked as its next-generation mainstay fighter, if prices skyrocket, sources close to Japan-U.S. ties said Wednesday.

In a letter dated Feb. 13, the ministry expressed its concern to the Pentagon over a rise in the price tag of the F-35, which is being developed by an international consortium led by U.S. aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp., the sources said.

The U.S. military has postponed orders for 179 F-35 fighter planes for five years as part of its fiscal 2013 defense budget plan due to delays in the aircraft’s development, making the prospect of mass production uncertain. The expected price of the F-35 jets for the U.S. military has also risen.

Source: mdn.mainichi.jp

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