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U.S. deploys F-21 Raptors in Japan

Posted March. 18, 2021 07:23,   

Updated March. 18, 2021 07:23


U.S. Pacific Air Forces announced on Thursday, when U.S. State Secretary Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that it had deployed F-22 Raptors stealth fighters at the U.S. base in Japan.

The U.S. unveiled a photo that showed four F-22 Raptors from the Hickam base landing at the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni of Yamaguchi prefecture in Japan last Friday. “This operation demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific through the flexibility of our forces. We’re focused on being ready for a high-end flight under any conditions,” said the Pacific Air Forces.

F-22 raptors will be used along with the F-35B stealth fighters of the U.S. Marine Corps and the Japanese Self-Defense Forces to practice joint integration. The U.S. has mostly deployed F-22 at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. It is unprecedented to deploy the fighter jets across Iwakuni, which is approximately 640 kilometers in straight distance from Korea’s demilitarized zone.  

“The deployment is significant as an alert to North Korea as well as deterrence to China, given F-22’s operational radius and performance,” said an official at the Defense Ministry. The timing of the announcement at the Biden administration’s heads of foreign affairs and defense first visit to South Korea and Japan also indicates the importance of the deployment.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com