This weekend's Royal International Air Tattoo to have a Japanese flavour
A JAPANESE military aircraft will touch down on British soil for the first time since the Second World War.
History will be made at Fairford's Royal International Air Tattoo this weekend with the arrival of a KC-767J from the Japanese Air Self-Defence Force.
Apart from state visits no Japanese military planes have landed in Britain since wartime.
Japan announced it would send an aircraft to participate in its first ever European air show as a step towards developing closer military ties with the UK. The plane arrives at RAF Fairford tomorrow.
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European Airshow Council chairman Gilbert Buekenberghs said: "While other nations will also be sending aircraft to European air shows for the first time this summer, most notably South Korea and Colombia, it is the backdrop against which Japan is proposing to participate that makes their visit to the Air Tattoo so significant.
"While other far flung nations may choose not to attend for reasons of distance or cost, Japan's absence over the years has been self imposed, a restriction borne out of the Second World War.
"That they now feel the time is right to participate more fully on the international stage is to be applauded and certainly one welcomed by the European airshow community."
The decision was taken after visits to Japan by the RAF's chief of air staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
Capt (Navy) Atsushi Minami, Defence Attache at the Japanese Embassy in London said: "When Prime Minister Cameron paid an official visit to Japan, our two prime ministers agreed in a joint statement to upgrade bilateral defence co-operation in various fields. On instruction from the two Prime Ministers, the Japanese Defence Minister and the UK Defence Secretary signed a Defence Cooperation Memorandum in June.
"We hope our participation in the Air Tattoo will enhance defence cooperation between our two countries."
As well as 14 crew, on board the plane will be the Taiko Drummers from the Japanese Air Self Defence Force.
For details, visit www.airtattoo.com or contact the ticket hotline 0800 107 1940.