Defense News - Japan
Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 06:07 PM
|Japan can now take part of arms development and production with other countries.|
The government's security council agreed to the relaxing of the ban to allow Japan to take part in the joint development and production of arms with other countries and to supply military equipment for humanitarian missions, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a news conference.
The new Japanese main battle tank Type 10
"The new standards (on weapons exports) are a result of the government considering measures that required attention amid recent changes to the environment surrounding international defense equipment," Fujimura said, referring to rising arms costs that could put strain on the government, with public debt twice the size of its economy.
The rule adopted in 1967 banned sales to communist countries, those involved in international conflicts or subject to United Nations sanctions.
It later became a blanket ban on exports and on the development and production of weapons with countries other than the United States, making it impossible for manufacturers to participate in multinational projects.
"The regulations on weapons exports are based on the concept that as a pacifist country Japan should aim to avoid fanning international conflicts, and we will keep a close watch on exports," Fujimura said.
The relaxing of the rules does not mean Japan will begin openly selling its military products to the world -- exports will be limited to strategic allies like the U.S.
The move could still allow companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy to join the development of Lockheed Martin's F-35, which Tokyo picked last week as its next frontline fighter, planning to buy 42 fighter at an estimated cost of more than $7 billion.