North To Visit Japan By Month’s End

Newly arrived Pacific Air Forces commander Gen. Gary North deferred from venturing into the renewed debate on selling modified F-22 Raptors to Japan and other allies, but he mentioned to reporters Wednesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference that he would be traveling soon to Japan to have high level discussions with senior Japan Air Self Defense Force leadership on a host of issues. North said what little he’s discussed with the JASDF senior leadership in the few weeks he’s been at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, headquarters for PACAF, has been focused on a host of recapitalization issues they are facing—from replacing their fleet of F-4s to modernization of their F-15Js and their needs “across the spectrum, not just fighters.” He said he looked forward to further discussion on the Japanese view of the Raptor issue, but that Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz have made themselves clear on the issue. (And, Schwartz said at the conference that it wouldn’t be the best use of USAF’s thin acquisition force right now.)