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03:10 PM, February 25, 2017
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with US President Donald earlier this month

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally thanked US President Donald Trump for taking up with Lockheed Martin the issue of reducing price of the F-35 fighter jets being sold to Japan.

"Prime Minister Abe was great, great guy. When he came over, he said, thank you...You saved many, many millions of dollars on the F-35 fighter jets," the president was quoted as saying by The Mainichi last week.

It is possible Abe made the remarks during his visit to the United States earlier this month for bilateral summit talks.

The U.S. Defense Ministry announced on Feb. 3 that it has agreed with Lockheed to reduce the price of 90 F-35 fighter jets, including four for Japan's Air Self-Defense Force, by $728 million.

Trump said he negotiated with Lockheed not just improved terms for the United States but also for its allies.

However, defense analysts were quoted as saying by Reuters that the news of those cuts, saying the discount hailed by Trump was in line with what had been flagged by Lockheed for months and would apply to other countries committed to the program.

Four officials said that Japan had further trimmed the price for its latest order, largely on ground support costs such as parts, logistics and technical assistance.

In a budget request last year, Japan's Ministry of Defence fixed the price of the six F-35s at 15.7 billion yen ($136.81 million) each. That had been cut to 14.6 billion yen when the budget was approved in December, in line with the 6-7 percent per plane reduction flagged by the Pentagon late last year.

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