Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet passed new guidelines loosening Japan’s more than four-decade-old restrictions on foreign weapons sales as part of the premier’s push to bolster the country’s military.In response, the normally more circumspect (official) People's Daily has run an editorial from the rabidly jingoistic Global Times. I guess the emphasis on the Philippines as a prime customer is no accident:
The new rules continue to ban transfers of military material to countries involved in conflict and will be limited to cases that contribute to Japan’s security or to the “promotion of peace” and international cooperation, according to a document provided by the Foreign Ministry in advance of the decision. The changes will allow Japanese companies to more easily work with other nations on joint weapons programs.
“The Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces will make more active contributions to peace and international security under the three principles on defense transfers,” Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said today in a statement. “We will more actively cooperate on defense equipment and technology with our ally the U.S. and other countries to maintain regional peace and stability.”
The old policy on arms exports, enacted in 1967, turned into a blanket ban on all weapons exports in 1976, with only a few exceptions such as to the US. It was considered a symbol of Japan's pacifist stance.Personally, I'd be more impressed with China's alarmist warnings if it weren't the world's fastest-growing arms exporter in the last decade or so. What a joke. Just so you know, the three principles Japan will shortly replace that have been in place since 1967 are as follows:
Under the new rules, Japan can export weapons to neighboring countries, some of which are at loggerheads with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea such as the Philippines, said Feng Zhaokui, an expert on Japanese studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). "In this way, these countries will enhance the quality of their weapons and this is partially to counter China," Feng told the Global Times.
Under the Three Principles, "arms" exports to the following countries or regions shall not be permitted:
(1) communist bloc countries,Needless to say, Japanese armaments are of good quality, so there should be customers aplenty. Besides, the three principles seem antiquated if you ask me.
(2) countries subject to "arms" exports embargo under the United Nations Security Council's resolutions, and
(3) countries involved in or likely to be involved in international conflicts.