Japan to relax arms export ban, Nikkei reports


Japan has decided to relax its self-imposed ban on arms exports to allow more joint development and production of weapons with other nations, a report said Sunday. The new measure would "enable shipments to countries with which Japan co-develops arms," said the Nikkei newspaper without citing sources.

"The move is aimed at reducing procurement costs and stimulating the domestic defense industry by promoting joint development and production of key arms, such as next-generation fighter jets, with the U.S. and Europe," it said.

By taking a more active role in U.S. or European military development programs, Japan hopes to reduce the purchasing cost of major equipment such as jets, the Nikkei said.

Tokyo, however, would continue to prohibit arms exports to nations that are state sponsors of terrorism, violate the human rights of their citizens or lack sufficient controls over arms sales, the Nikkei said.

Japan currently bans almost all weapons exports, except for special cases such as those relating to the joint development of a missile defense system with the United States.

The report came as the world's second-largest economy is increasingly scaling up its military power and seeking a greater role on global and regional security issues.

Tokyo, which sees itself as a top target for nuclear-armed North Korea, has spent some 700 billion yen on its own missile defense system, developed with the United States.

Japan deployed the system last month as a preventive measure after North Korea launched what Pyongyang called "a satellite." The United States, Seoul and Tokyo said it staged a disguised ballistic missile test.

© Wire reports

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So much for this, then: "Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. 2) In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

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Well, big step backwards for humankind, but Japan's been going down the toilet at an ever-increasing rate for a while now, so no surprise, either. 'Tis a shame, really... if there's one thing I respected Japan on it was their stance towards non-proliferation. Now they're going to sell weapons to the highest bidders for some quick cash.

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Well, that is good idea. But I think that Israel or India or Sweden can be better partners and see us more like equals. USA military projects have an awful tendency to end being overpriced and with a questinable cost/efficience ratio.

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Did the decrease in exports push Japan into this direction?

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I suppose that Japan selling the US 90% of the napalm used in the Vietnam war doesnt count.

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Just as the Japanese govt & businesses will make deals with any dictator out there (e.g., Burma, North Korea), so also they'll put aside whatever moral scruples they might have in the name of business & making money. Big time war machines like the US do this too, of course, but then they don't try to enshrine themselves in the eyes of the world as a peace-loving nation to the extent Japan does (e.g., Article 9). Hypocrisy abounds. Participating in the weapons -- the killing -- business is never a good idea and does no one any good in the end. Humans still think like cavemen after all.

I guess after throwing so much money to the Pacific island nations (surely a bribe to continue voting, or as a reward for voting, on Japan's side re: whaling), not to mention the idiotic 12,000-yen giveaway recently, the govt's realizing that money must be had from wherever it can, peace be damned.

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Killer robots here we come!

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The real Japan is finally revealing itself. Glad to see Japan is making a fool of itself right in front of the world. This "holier than thou" attitude which Japan loves to flog the world with every August has now proved to be a huge load of bull.

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The real Japan is finally revealing itself.

No it's Japan finally coming around to what they should have startd back in 1950. Instead they followed the ridiculous "no military...while having a military" hypocrisy. Time to trash article 9 and get with the program.

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Yes, killer robots here we come. It is like "Ghost in the Shell" and "Appleseed" coming to fruition.

I wonder if they will become the leader in arms like they did with the automobile industry. Doesn't this give Japan an excuse to stockpile weapons.

North Korea won't be happy about this. Neither will China!

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Seems like half of you didn't even read the article, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. It says joint development and production of weapons systems with countries like the US and those in Europe, a far cry from selling to any third-world crackpot with the cash. But facts never stop anyone from descending into arguments based on paranoia, slippery-slopes, or justifying their own bigotries.

Again, if you're American, Canadian, French, German, Italian, British, or from any other number of countries, this is the same thing that has been taking place for decades amongst those countries. Interestingly it's timed just as another news story about selling the F-35 to Japan, a jointly-developed fighter which includes those horrible international warmongers like the Canadians, Australians, Norwegians, and the Dutch. So, this is a good thing.

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If the idea is make J join the F-35 joint program, if we dont get the B version, I say, no thank you. That project is already to expensive for the current recession in the economy.

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I wonder if they will become the leader in arms like they did with the >automobile industry. Doesn't this give Japan an excuse to stockpile >weapons.

At most Japan would have no incentive to become any more of a "leader" in the arms industry than England or France. Besides, their true potential is not in competing in small arms and such but in their highly advanced robotics technology, the end results of which are more efficiently used by advanced militaries, not third world toilet bowl dictatorships and such. This could be of great benefit to the democratic nations of the world.

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As usual the usual suspects come out because Japan is moving towards become a normal country. Do they complain of arms exports by China, Europe, the US or indeed any other country? No, just Japan because it's "evil".

Stepping into the real world, this is actually a good thing for Japan and its allies. As UnagiDon says, any such change to the rules would be limited. No arms sales to countries like Iran, Syria, North Korea, etc unlike nations like China and Russia. Or indeed sales to Saudi Arabia like the Europeans and Americans make.

Get real, guys. Japan still has a long way to go before it becomes a member of the dodgy arms dealer brigade. Stop moaning because your countries won't be able to sell Japan items at high cost or might have future competition in selling systems to other countries.

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Get real, guys.

That's asking way too much of some of our JT brethren...

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Japan should start making and exporting nukes and chemical weapons, too, to be on an even footing with the superpowers.

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Japan to relax arms export ban

Japan has been heading in this direction for quite some time, so this should come as no surprise. Look at the agreement with the U.S. and MHI about the Patriot missile system production. This is the 21st century.

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Good news, these arms will be used for peaceful purpose :)

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Kitchen knives... the ones they make here kill more people than firearms.

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Why is it everything Japan does is criticized as evil by some people? Japan moves to a jury system that people have yelling about for years. Then the same people trash the system before it even begins.

Japan moves to sign the Hague Accords that people have been yelling for Japan to do and the same people bash the move as being some sinister plot by Japanese to do evil. Japan makes realistic changes for the Gaijin ID cards that people have been screaming about for years. The government announces changes to the system and people scream about how the government is going steal all your money and send police to arrest you in the middle of the night. A little paranoid and over the top to say the least.

Now Japan wants to work with Europe and the USA to work as a partner in defense and people scream to high heaven about it. The same peopele who have complained that the US and Europe foot too much of the bill to protect Japan.

Make up your minds, but I think some people just hate Japan and see any thing to bash it for. Perhaps some people are miserable with their life and look for anything to bash others for. Why all the hate for Japan? Is Japan any worse than any other country? Some of you make Japan sound like Burma, North Korea, or any other tin pot dictatorship. Utopia is a land that lives in Disney movies. Japan has problems, but it is funny those who complain the most are the same that stay here. Kind of refutes their arguments doesn't it?

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Maybe having seen the “not very good” workmanship of the products that they buy Japan just thought they could do better & to offset the cost of doing so decided to sell what they are going to make. Sounds like a good idea to me, added to which why should Japan be held to a higher standard than any (ANY) other country?

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Look what a little recession can do to principles...

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"prohibit arms exports to nations that are state sponsors of terrorism"...well, that counts China out, and USA, UK, France, Israel, Russia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Somalia...gosh, so many others if you want to get into it. My point is, which countries can you actually export to, as usually the only ones that want to import weapons are the ones that want to use them on weaker people.

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Den Den at 11:58 PM JST - 24th May

“as usual the only ones that want to import weapons are the ones that want to use them on weaker people.”

That’s not strictly true, some countries actually want to use then against the US & the US can’t be seen as a “weaker people.” I do agree about not being able to think of any country that is a safe country to sell to, if the truth be told they would all be black listed. What a wonderful world we live in………

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Den Den, speak for your own country, but those countries are hardly all sponsors of state terrorism. The UK is withdrawing/has withdrawn from Iraq and is in Afhganistan with the backing of NATO and the UN. Now I know that some extremists think that unless you act like Ireland and never embark on any military endeavour you're "evil", but facing reality Japan can easily trade and co-operate with a select group of nations that are at the least less suspect than the rest.

Let's not forget that countries like Sweden have their own defence industry. Or are they a sponsor of state terrorism too?

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Shumatsu-It would take a while to list each country, and I take your point. But you defend the UK? Not a good example. Did you mention UK arms sales to Algeria, Angola, Burandi, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Uganda, and Zimbabwe? Right now the UK is in the EU court over sales to Israel. Many more examples if you want.

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Grafton, do you really believe everyone is out to get the US? Clearly some individuals/organisations have a reason, but they are just a minority.

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But you defend the UK?

Den Den, yes I do. Sponsorship of "state terrorism" is a catch-all expression used by people who don't like our foreign policy but are too lazy to get into specifics. Now if you want to say we sell weapons when we "shouldn't" do, ok. But it's not sponsorship of any such thing.

Also don't bring up every country we've ever sold weapons to. Our current policies are what are important.

Right now the UK is in the EU court over sales to Israel.

So? Do you know how many crackpots bring legal action against the UK every year and lose?

If you're talking about Al-Haq, then I didn't know that they had already got to the ECHR. But if they're that far it means they've failed in the High Court and had the Court of Appeal/House of Lords reject their appeals or even refuse to hear their case in the first place. That's hardly something to be proud of!

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