Japan Eases Ban On Weapons Exports

Posted December 27th, 2011 at 8:35 am (UTC-5)
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Japan says it will ease its decades-long weapons export ban.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Tuesday Tokyo will maintain its pacifist principles prohibiting export of Japanese-made weapons for use in global conflicts.

He said the new rules, approved by the government's security council, will allow Japan to participate in arms-building projects with other countries and lower purchase and production costs.

” The new rules take into account the changing international environment surrounding defense equipment. Upon review of the export of defense equipment overseas, the international co-development and production of defense equipment will allow in missions that contribute to peacemaking, to international cooperation, and to the security of our nation.”

Japan has already eased the ban in projects with the United States, its biggest ally. The latest changes extend the exception to other defense partners, including European nations and Australia.

Japan and the United States have jointly conducted weapons research and development to strengthen their security alliance. But Fujimura said Japan is expected to play a greater role in international peacekeeping and humanitarian support, and take steps against piracy and terrorism.

Japan's export ban dates back to 1967, but the government has long been under pressure from Japanese defense contractors who say the strict policy hampers their competitiveness and access to technology. Development and export of weapons parts by Japanese contractors would help keep costs low.