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JBIC might finance weapons exports

  • 2016-02-22 15:00:00
  • , Tokyo Shimbun
  • Translation

(Tokyo Shimbun: February 22, 2016 – Top play)

 

 In light of the government’s policy switch to allow arms exports in principle, the government-affiliated Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) is considering the possibility of financing and investing for weapons exports, sources disclosed. Since Japan had banned arms exports in principle before the government’s policy switch, the JBIC has never financed or invested in arms exports. Experts are sounding the alarm, saying, “Financial assistance for weapons exports will cause the Japanese economy to heavily depend on the ammunition industry.”

 

 The JBIC’s public relations office admits the possibility of the financial institution’s investment and financing, saying, “Whether we finance or invest in arms exports depends on conditions to be presented by the government. We will make a decision after a strict examination.” The defense equipment policy department of the Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA), which is responsible for Japan’s arms embargo policy, says, “We want to look into the possibility of financing and investing for arms exports if possible after a close examination on each case. If the JBIC succeeds, we expect private financial institutions to become active in this area.”

 

 A blue-ribbon panel, set up in the Defense Ministry in late 2014, discussed the possibility of the JBIC’s financing and investment in arms exports. The experts panel was chaired by Takashi Shiraishi, president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

 

 Specifically, the panel looked into low-interest financing and financing of joint ventures to be formed overseas to manufacture weapons.

 

 Meantime, the JBIC side reportedly started looking into arms exports after April 2014 when the cabinet had decided to approve the three principles of defense equipment transfer.

 

 It is being pointed out that the first instance of the JBIC’s financing weapons exports might be its underwriting of a project build submarines in Australia. The project reportedly will cost approximately 4 trillion yen. Japan, Germany and France are competing for the order for the project. In addition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s lobbying at his meeting with his Australian counterpart, the government and private sector have repeatedly held explanatory meetings. If Japan wins the order, the JBIC will look into the possibility of investing and financing for a joint venture to be established for the submarine construction.

 

 Okinawa International University Prof. Hiromori Maedomari, an expert in Japan-U.S. security affairs, said: “If a financial system for arms exports is consolidated, the Japanese economy will heavily depend on the military industry and the weapons industry will become indispensable for economic development. Japan, which has built its position as a pacifist nation, will lose the confidence of the international community. As a result, Japan’s security itself could be threatened.”

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