Congresswoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, the Chairwoman of the State Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and Vice Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, is traveling through the Asia-Pacific as part of a bipartisan Congressional delegation visiting the region this week. Last Monday, Granger met personally with high-level Japanese government officials in Tokyo, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera. During the meetings, Granger discussed the importance of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the V-22 Osprey aircraft, both of which are built in Tarrant County and North Texas.“This trip is an opportunity to strengthen the relationships that the U.S. has with our allies and partners in Asia. One of our closest and most important partners in this region is Japan,” Granger said. “While meeting with Prime Minister Abe and Minister of Defense Onodera we discussed the significance of the Joint Strike Fighter and the Osprey.”In December 2011, Japan officially committed to purchasing 42 Joint Strike Fighters. The first four Air Force version F-35 JSF aircraft will be delivered in late 2016. Bell Helicopter is the largest supplier of helicopters operating in Japan today with approximately 350 sold to date as well as providing for a majority of the helicopters used by the Japanese Coast Guard. Additionally, Japan is considering the purchase of the V-22 Osprey for use later this decade. The Osprey would expand the Japanese capabilities for both military and humanitarian assistance operations.“These two vital defense programs employ thousands of North Texans, and they are critical parts of the defense industry hub that thrives in North Texas, so I am honored that the Government of Japan has chosen the F-35 to modernize their Air Force and that they are considering the purchase of the V-22 Osprey. I know both the U.S. government and aerospace industry are looking forward to extending their successful long-term partnerships with Japan well into the future. It’s international partnerships like the one with Japan that provides the potential for long-term economic growth and job creation for our area within the defense industry,” continued Granger.Members of the delegation will meet with key leaders in Japan, South Korea and China to discuss economic growth and trade, regional security challenges and strengthening U.S. alliances in the region as part of the delegations visit to the region.