Due to the recent ousting of Turkey from the F-35 program, things are up in the air for the other partner countries. The Japanese Government send a request for information to the Department of Defense, asking if the country can be upgraded to an official partner in the program, opposed to just a customer. Valerie Insinna, air warfare reporter for Defense News, says that adding a new partner nation now would be incredibly difficult.
“The DoD would have to look back and try to figure out where Japan or any other country could take over some of the industrial manufacture of the F-35,” Insinna said. “With Turkey being pushed from the program, there is some opportunity there to slot in someone new like Japan, but It raises a whole bunch of political questions, why should Japan get favored treatment?”