Japan dispatched an Air Self-Defense Force KC-767 transport aircraft to Poland on Tuesday night, to provide bulletproof vests and other SDF equipment to Ukraine. The equipment included bulletproof vests, helmets and cold-weather clothing. To support the embattled country, which has been fighting invading Russian forces, the provision of defense equipment was officially approved at National Security Council ministerial meetings earlier in the day. The operational guidelines for the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology were revised to allow the provision of bulletproof vests.
Japan’s attempt to sway Russian President Vladimir Putin prior to his invasion of Ukraine was overshadowed by European and U.S. diplomacy, but once Russia initiated war. It has restricted transactions with Russia’s central bank, frozen the assets of Russian business oligarchs as well as seven Russian banks in Japan, excluded selected Russian banks from the SWIFT messaging system, and prohibited the issue or transaction of new Russian sovereign debt in the primary and secondary market. In addition, Japan has restricted exports to Russian military-related entities of an internationally agreed-upon list of items including dual-use items such as semiconductors.
The Boeing KC-767 is a military aerial refueling and strategic transport aircraft developed from the Boeing 767-200ER. The tanker received the designation KC-767A, after being selected by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) initially to replace older KC-135Es. The tanker was developed for the Italian and Japanese air forces, who ordered four tankers each. Financing of the development of the aircraft has largely been borne by Boeing, in the hope of receiving major orders from the USAF. Boeing’s revised KC-767 proposal to the USAF was selected in February 2011 for the KC-X program under the designation KC-46.
In 2001, Japan selected the KC-767 over the Airbus A310 MRTT and signed a contract in 2003. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) ordered four aircraft and has designated the tanker KC-767J. In June 2005, Japan’s first aircraft arrived at Boeing’s Wichita, Kansas modification center to be fitted out with the tanker equipment. The first operational KC-767J was delivered to the JASDF on 19 February 2008, with the second KC-767J following on 5 March. The third KC-767 was delivered to the JASDF in March 2009. The three KC-767J aircraft reached initial operational capability (IOC) status with the JASDF in May 2009. The fourth tanker was delivered in January 2010.