A tip o' the propellor beanie to Guru Bob for this link to a pretty good Japan Times piece on how the Japanese lost the bid to build the RAN's submarines when they started off with the inside running.
In February 2015, Abbott called his “best friend in Asia,” as he had previously described Abe, to tell him about the new bidding process. Abe sympathized and said he would do his best to comply, two sources with knowledge of the conversation said.
Yet, convinced the deal was still in the bag, Japan’s bidding group dithered.
“Even though we were in the competition we acted as though nothing had changed,” said one Japanese government source involved in the bid. “We thought we had already won, so why do anything to rock the boat?”
The Japanese did not attend a conference for the Future Submarines project in March, failing to understand the importance of the crucial lobbying event and leaving the field to their German and French rivals, sources on the Japanese bidding team said.
Japan’s belated attempt to engage with potential local suppliers at a follow up event in August 2015 went badly.
Companies complained Tokyo was unwilling to discuss substantive deals. Having only ever sold arms to Japan’s military because of a decades-old ban on exports that Abe lifted in 2014, neither MHI nor KHI had any Australian military industrial partners.
And unlike France and Germany, which quickly committed to building the submarines in Australia, Japan initially only said it would follow the bidding rules, which required building in Australia as just one of three options.
“The Japanese had been invited in on a handshake deal and were left trying to compete in an international competition having no experience in doing such a thing,” an Australian defense industry source said.
By September 2015, Japan’s key ally Abbott had been deposed by Malcolm Turnbull, blowing the competition wide open.