TOKYO, July 4 Japan on Friday postponed the
rollout of a long-range military cargo jet for two years because
of defects, potentially complicating Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's
push for a more robust defence.
The C-2 aircraft built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries
needs to be re-engineered after a rear cargo door blew out
during cabin-pressure tests, the Defense Ministry said in a
The C-2 represents a major logistical upgrade on the C-1 now
in service. The new plane can lift nearly four times as much
-enough to carry a helicopter or a mobile missile battery - more
than six times as far.
While the C-1 struggles to reach Japan's outlying islands in
the East China Sea, near territory hotly disputed with China,
the C-2 could carry loads from Tokyo as far as Afghanistan.
Abe this week took a historic step away from Japan's postwar
pacifism, ending a ban on the nation's military from aiding a
friendly country under attack.
Until it gets the C-2 into service, Japan could be forced to
ask civilian airlines such as ANA Holdings or Japan Airlines to
help move equipment and personnel, a Defense Ministry official
The delay will increase the C-2 program's cost by 40 billion
yen ($390 million) to 260 billion yen and comes after two
previous postponements that have already lengthened the project
by three years.
($1 = 102.0500 yen)
(Reporting by Nobuhiro Kubo; Writing by Tim Kelly; Editing by