Starting in 1973 the Japan Air Self-Defense Force received 154 F-4EJ Phantoms that were based on the USAF F-4E. 138 of these aircraft were manufactured under license by Mitsubishi who produced the last F-4 Phantom II several changes were made to the F-4E to make it an F-4EJ. Basically it had any offensive weapons removed but eventually these restrictions were lifted and the aircraft were updated with missiles and the latest electronic equipment.
In November 1968 the JASDF ordered the F-4EJ Phantom. The first two aircraft, 17-8301 and 17-8302 were built by McDonnell Douglas with eleven others being assembled by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries from parts manufactured and shipped from the U.S.. The first of 140 Phantoms was handed over to the JASDF in August 1972 and the last aircraft was received on May 20, 1981. These aircraft equipped six squadrons. F-4EJ 17-8301 was sent to the Air Proving Wing (APW) that in 1989 became the Air Development and Test Wing (ADTW).