Japan offers submarine bid to Australia
Japan on Monday submitted a bid for a huge submarine contract with Australia, Japanese officials said, as France and Germany also vie to win the multi-billion dollar contract.
Australia has solicited bids for a project worth up to Aus$50 billion (US$36 billion) to replace its current diesel and electric-powered Collins Class submarines, with a Monday deadline to submit final proposals.
A Japanese defence ministry official said Tokyo's proposal included plans to build the submarines in Australia, which is keen to secure more jobs in connection with the project.
The official said Tokyo was "confident" its proposal will win, without disclosing further details, including proposed expenses and construction period.
During his visit to Australia this month, Japan's Defence Minister Gen Nakatani said picking Tokyo could help ensure maritime security in the Asia-Pacific, alluding to the importance of regional allies such as the US, Japan and Australia working together in the face of China's growing military might.
For Australia, cooperating with Japan on a defence project risks angering its biggest trading partner China.
The tender process has been politically sensitive, with Canberra keen to maximise Australian industry involvement and jobs. There are fears that any off-the-shelf purchase could kill off the domestic shipbuilding industry.
France and Germany have also said they would build the new submarines locally.
© 2015 AFP