The Japanese government is planning to ease restrictions on exporting lethal weapons, Nikkei reported.
The East Asian nation is planning to export a range of weapons such as sea-launched interceptor missiles and fighter aircraft to a group of 12 countries, the outlet added.
Ten of the nations — Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Italy — have signed individual security agreements with Japan. Two additional countries, India and Australia, are Quad partners with Tokyo.
To Take Effect Next Year
Japanese law currently restricts the export of non-lethal weapons to only those countries that co-develop the weapons with Japan.
With other countries, exports are “limited to equipment for rescue, transport, warning, surveillance and minesweeping missions.”
The changes will be finalized in June and formulated after the enactment of the National Security Strategy at year’s end.
Weapons export to “like-minded nations” will allow Japanese weapon manufacturers to recoup some of the production cost of weapons, reducing their overall cost.
It will also equip the countries with the latest weapon systems in the wake of rising Chinese aggression in the region, Nikkei observed.
Moreover, it will forge stronger relationships between Tokyo and recipient nations, preventing them from becoming swept up into China’s sphere of influence.
According to the outlet, there is an appetite for cheap fighter jets among Southeast Asian countries and Western powers are competing with the Chinese for their share of the global weapons market.
Exporting the weapons to Quad partners such as India and Australia will strengthen their defensive posture against China, the outlet concluded.