Japan set to launch new commercial plane

The plane will be available to airlines in 70- and 90-seat versions.

After 50 years, Japan is set to unveil its first commercial jet. The  Mitsubishi Regional Jet, MRJ, is a narrow body jet that was unveiled on Saturday at the Mitsubishi’s Komaki Minami plant in Nagoya, the same plant that produced the Japanese Zero fighter from WWII.

The last plane that was built by Japan was back in 1972, the Mitsubishi YS-11, but only 180 of the planes were sold. The prop plane was suppose to revitalize the Japanese aviation industry, but it never came to be.

The new MR, which seats 4 people across, already has orders for 15 from ANA. Mitsubishi is hoping to have the planes operational for commercial use starting in 2017, with other vendors purchasing them in a very tough market for narrow body planes. It will be very interesting to see how Mitsubishi is able to develop its aircraft and how it will fare against the other vendors around the world. For a country that has incredible transportation innovations, such as the bullet train, this could be the next step in their development for even better transportation technology.