Will Collier, read this:
Japan’s combination of long sea zones and growing rivalry with China make a long-range, twin-engine, supercruising and stealthy interceptor that has unprecedented reconnaissance capabilities and leverages existing Japanese partnerships with Lockheed and Boeing nearly irresistible. Seen in that light, the JASDF’s interest in the F-22 is less surprising.
A Lockheed Martin official has confirmed that a proposal to sell Japan F-22s in some form of downgraded “international variant” is working its way through the Air Force with the support of the Japanese government, and is now “at the three- or four-star level” and among civilian decision-makers.
Of course, Japan knows a thing or two (cough, cough) about electronics, and could probably upgrade any “international variant” to full spec without too much trouble.