Japan Considering Ease on Military Export Rules

Japanese government is discussing to loosen military equipment export rules, mainly because without a change, Britain would not be able to sell any jet fighters built jointly with Japan. Talks between Japan and Britain are going on to merge their next generation Tempest and F-X fighter jet programmes. The two sides hope to finalize a deal by the end of the year. Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is mulling to ease export rules to make an agreement possible.

Although Japan ended a ban on military exports in 2014, foreign sales have not increased because Tokyo only allowed sales of non-lethal gear, such as surveillance and rescue equipment. The country had hoped the change would allow the armed forces to cut costs and to help private enterprises like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries access foreign markets.

The government thinks it would need to review export rules if the country is going to sell beyond the countries it jointly develops weapons with.

Japan prepares to increase defense spending and revamp its national security strategy to counter what it sees as a growing threat posed by neighbors, including China, Russia and North Korea.

As part of its biggest military expansion since World War II, Japan is expected to acquire fresh munitions, including longer-range missiles, spend on cyber defense, and create a combined air, sea and land command headquarters that will work more closely with U.S. forces in Japan.

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