The Japanese Ministry of Defence has decided to sell the oldest of its two Boeing 747-400 for a little more than 25 million euros. Originally assigned to the transport of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, the aircraft also provided missions for the benefit of Emperor Akihito. It was a military aircraft since it belongs to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
The aircraft is sold at a price of 28 million US dollars. Of course, its most sensitive equipment, ensuring the secret communications of the prime minister, has been removed. Moreover, before its sale, it has been registered in the United States as N7474C and it carries no longer any Japanese military marking.
This aircraft entered into service in September 1991 under Tactical Code 21-1101 on behalf of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force. Its first flight was on 9 October 1990. The plane arrived in Japan in December 1990 and was delivered to Mitsubishi to receive its specific equipment as well as its government livery.
When the Japanese Prime Minister was on board, the aircraft took the JAF1 call sign, for Japanese Air Force One: a way for the Japanese to recall the famous American Air Force One. Both countries used the Jumbo Jet, even though the JASDF 747-400 was more modern than the US Air Force 747-200.
Actually, both Japanese Boeing 747-400s have been taken out of service. The second one is at Pinal Park, waiting to be converted into a freighter with new registration N7477C.
The Japan Air Self-Defence Force has, like many airlines, taken the option to replace its Jumbo Jets with new generation jets: the Boeing 777-300ER will now provide the bulk of the Japanese prestige missions, for the benefit of the government as well as the imperial family during its official travels.