As Rome seeks to strengthen engagement in the Indo-Pacific and expand its network of partners, Tokyo broadens its network of partners to counterbalance China's growing military ambitions.
The rapid pace of bilateral military engagement has become evident in recent times. On Tuesday, Maritime Self-Defense Force MSDF Chief of Staff Adm. Ryo Sakai announced that the service can exchange information with the Italian Navy on the operation of the F - 35 B fighter aircraft both countries are acquiring.
Italy and Japan are acquiring both the F - 35 A conventional takeoff and landing and F - 35 B short takeoff and vertical landingvariantes of the advanced aircraft, with Rome set to field 60 F - 35 As and 30 F - 35 Bs and Tokyo planning to acquire up to 105 F - 35 As and 42 F - 35 Bs over the next few years, the most of any international customer.
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