According to Nikkei, the Japan aims to enable the transfer of fighter jets, missiles, and other weapons to 12 countries, including India, Australia, and other European and Southeast Asian countries. Regulatory adjustments to allow for exports could be in place by March of next year. By engaging with countries that have signed individual security agreements with Tokyo, the administration hopes to increase deterrence against China. Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy are among these countries.
In 2014, Japan adopted a concept for defence equipment transfers and relaxed laws that had previously prevented its export. However, exports of lethal weapons are still prohibited. Exports to countries that do not co-develop armaments with Japan are confined to equipment for rescue, transport, warning, surveillance, and minesweeping operations, according to the concept. The easing will, however, be included in the government’s economic and fiscal management and reform programme, which will be approved in June.
The principles will be changed after the formulation of a National Security Strategy, which is expected to happen by the end of this year. With the help of the United States and the United Kingdom, Japan plans to build new fighter jets and medium-range anti-aircraft missiles. Japan’s manufacturers will be able to reduce their production costs thanks to export consumers. As a result, the Japanese government’s procurement expenses will be reduced, and its financial burden will be reduced.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Asia’s security situation has deteriorated. Officials from the Japanese government hope that the expansion of Japanese-made equipment to neighbouring countries will strengthen the country’s security cooperation with like-minded nations. China’s rising military footprint is causing concern in Japan, Australia, India, and certain Southeast Asian countries.
Japan wants to enhance ties with these countries by providing them with armaments that will allow them to take a more defensive stance. Japan plans to export aircraft and advanced sea-launched interceptor missiles after modifying relevant policies. Southeast Asian countries are prepared to buy low-cost fighter jets, and the United States and Europe are marketing to the region to stop Chinese-made fighter jets from spreading.
The Japanese government also intends to export bulletproof jackets and helmets to countries with which it does not have bilateral security agreements. These things have already been sent to Ukraine by Tokyo. Since 2014, when the government relaxed laws prohibiting such sales, Tokyo has sold a warning and control radar to the Philippines under the country’s lone defence export deal.
Without export promotion measures, Japan’s declining defence industry may face challenges obtaining parts for weapons. Still, there are concerns that military equipment developed in Japan could be employed in international wars. The administration plans to frame the export plan by stating that it is in accordance with the constitution and other laws.