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Japan government eyes cooperation with private sector to boost exports of defense equipment

  • August 11, 2020
  • , The Japan News , 4:27 p.m.
  • English Press

In a bid to help trading houses and manufacturers expand their exports of defense equipment, the government has decided to actively promote such exports to four Indo-Pacific nations, it has been learned.


The move is aimed at maintaining the foundation of Japan’s defense industry and at strengthening security ties with each of the four nations so as to keep China in check — a country which is increasing its maritime activities in the region.


Japan’s government will promote defense equipment exports to Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India. They were chosen in consideration of the fact that Japan has been holding active defense exchanges with these nations, and because they are strongly interested in strengthening their military and police systems.


The Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency will conclude contracts with Japanese trading companies and other entities in September to collect information on procurement plans and security concerns in each country and select defense equipment that is expected to be in demand.


The government, trading companies and defense equipment manufacturers will work together to draw up “project designs” by the end of this fiscal year that will specify an export plan and be used to promote exports to each country.


In addition to nonoffensive equipment such as transport aircraft and radar, the defense equipment to be sold for export will also include fighter jets and submarines. The government is also considering a wide range of export methods, including joint development of defense equipment with partner countries with increased local production.


In April 2014, the government replaced the “Three Principles on Arms Exports” which had in principle banned arms exports, with the “Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology.” The new three principles allow exports of defense equipment only when 1) they contribute to the active promotion of peace and international cooperation, 2) they contribute to Japan’s national security, and 3) the receiving country can maintain rigid control.


The National Security Council will examine key export cases under the new principles.


Mitsubishi Electric Corp.’s air defense radar, over which final negotiations are being conducted with the Philippines, is expected to be used as an example of a finished product under the plan.


There have been only four cases of exporting components, including parts for U.S.-made PAC-2 surface-to-air missile system and components of F100 engines to be used in F-15 fighters.

Japan previously sought to participate in Australia’s next-generation submarine project, but failed to win an order in 2016.


“The domestic defense industry lacked the know-how for exports and did not fully understand the needs of the other country,” a senior Defense Ministry official said.


To extend markets, the government intends to help the companies seek out demand for defense equipment, rather than just sit and wait to receive requests from other countries.

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