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Japan outlines measures to boost defence innovation

Japan's newly published defence White Paper has outlined a series of developments aimed at further strengthening the country's defence technology and industrial base as part of a wider strategy to reinforce Japan's response to perceived growing threats in Northeast Asia.

The annual White Paper, issued by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 13 July, continues some of the technology and industrial themes outlined in the previous iteration of the policy, but also points to some new initiatives geared towards stimulating innovation and competitiveness.

The document notes that the MoD has recently established a unit to “reinforce the research and development (R&D) system for advanced technology”. The new Future Capabilities Development Centre will act as an organisation within the MoD's Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA).

Another initiative is the setting up of the Technology Collaboration Support Division: a new agency within ATLA that will be focused on promoting defence-technology co-operation across industry, academia, and national research institutes.

The development centre and collaboration division will both be supported by a new ATLA executive, a director for advanced technology strategy, who will engage in “planning for research and analysis of advanced technology trends in Japan and overseas”, said the White Paper.

The paper also disclosed an expansion in an existing initiative to streamline Japan's defence procurement and sustainment processes. It said that as of March 2021 it had selected 21 projects to progress through this refined fast-track system.

MoD officials have told Janes that such projects include those to procure RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 interceptors developed by Raytheon and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI); Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles; MHI Type 16 manoeuvre combat vehicles; and Kawasaki Heavy Industries' P-1 maritime patrol aircraft and C-2 transport aircraft.

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