TOKYO, June 29 (Xinhua) -- Japan on Friday confirmed the order to purchase the F-35 stealth jet as its next-generation fighter jet despite the aircraft's higher price.
Japan plans to acquire a total of 42 jets with the first four delivered by 2016. Each aircraft is set to cost about 10.2 billion yen (about 128 million U.S. dollars), according to local media reports.
The Japanese government decided in December to choose the F-35 stealth jet, developed by the United States and eight other countries, as its next-generation fighter jet.
Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter, which had been reviewed along with Boeing's FA-18 Super Hornet and the Eurofighter Typhoon, will replace the country's 40-year-old fleet of F-4s.
But critics in the country have been worried about the potential increase of costs as the jet is still under development. Former Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka warned that Japan might cancel the purchase in the case of a price hike or delivery delay in February.