Surely it aims to rival the American F-35, which is engineered and supported by an international consortium and many joint-ventures.
By doing so, Japan is giving off the impression that it's looking to climb the ranks both economically and militarily by boasting it's capabilities.
The panels that extrude from the exhausts below appear to be a thrust-vectoring system, which would make the fighter highly maneuverable. Thrust vectoring may be less sexy than stealth technology, but is of key importance for a fighter jet hoping to tangle with China’s top pilots. 1
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