Fortunately for them it is an FMS deal with offsets and work-share and not the smoke and mirrors for the unlucky stiffs that are Joint Strike Fighter Partner nations.
The package includes a final assembly and checkout (FACO) facility in Japan as well as work there to build components – potentially including the wings or center fuselage – and subcomponents. Specific details on the value of this FACO facility were not disclosed.
Production "capacity" will be available because JSF Partner Nations have not put in orders of any significant number.
Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and IHT Corp will help with final assembly of the F-35 along with other components.
Lockheed officials declined to identify a potential contract value, but some analysts estimate it to be worth $8 billion. The contract for the first four jets, likely to be used for training, is expected in Japan’s fiscal 2012, beginning in April.
I guess Japan didn't learn much from the F-2.
There is a lot of work to do to fix up significant problems with the F-35. It will be interesting to see how Japan deals with all of this.
And, it is unlikely the F-35 will be useful against emerging threats in the Pacific Rim over its alleged lifetime.
Maybe Japan can bring some credibility back into the F-35 program.
Others have tried, without success.