Japan has enlisted electronics firm Toshiba Corp to help it try to win Asia's biggest defence contract, a AU$50 billion ($36 billion) deal to build a dozen submarines for Australia, three sources said. Toshiba is considering building a factory in Australia to make lithium-ion batteries to power the vessels, said the sources who are familiar with the plan but not authorised to talk to the media. The potential investment, which is contingent on Canberra picking the Japanese design, is part of an incentive package promising commercial and defence sector work beyond the submarine program, aimed at winning over politicians who want jobs in Australia.
The proposed plant, which could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, will also fabricate industrial scale power packs for commercial customers around the world, said the sources.
Such an investment could be an attractive proposition for Australia, which is seeking other avenues of growth as it grapples with plunging commodity prices.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University