Citing a Korean government official, the Hankyoreh reports that Japan apparently abandoned an effort to import the Korea Amphibious Assault Vehicle (KAAV) after President Lee visited Dokdo.
Instead, Japan is now considering purchasing American AAV7s.
According to the official, earlier this year Japan was really interested in importing the KAAV as part of Tokyo’s efforts to deal with the Chinese threat against the Senkaku Islands.
The Japanese felt the KAAV, used by the Korean Marine Corps, was the best fit after US Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the US was suspending development of the EFV.
This was back in those heady days of June, when it looked like Korea and Japan were set to form what critics feared looked a lot like a military alliance. Japan, too, had announced last year it would export weapons to Korea and Australia, and Tokyo figured importing a Korean weapons system first would make later Korean imports of Japanese weapons smoother. Buying and selling weapons would help move the relationship towards a semi-alliance, too.
Then everything pretty much went to shit in July. The military intelligence deal blew up in Lee Myung-bak’s face, one of Lee’s top security advisors was forced to resign, and then President Lee visited Dokdo.
The Korean government had believed the Japanese were still interested in buying the KAAV, and on Aug 27, NHK reported that the JSDF was putting together 3 billion yen to buy four amphibious assault vehicles. Unfortunately, NHK reported the vehicle under consideration was the American AAV7 now used by USFJ.
In other words, with the deterioration in Korea—Japan ties, Tokyo is now going to buy an old-model American fighting vehicle.
Marmot’s Note: Boy, it’s shitburgers all around—Korea loses a historic weapons deal opportunity; Japan has to settle for an outdated weapons system; the United States, Korea and Japan get to ponder the lost strategic opportunities; and the Chinese go to bed knowing that Korea came this close to selling weapons to the Japanese intended for use against them.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
BTW, the KAAV is manufactured by Samsung Techwin. Shitty month for Samsung.