TOPJapan and Turkey agree to joint venture for tanks

Japan and Turkey agree to joint venture for tanks

By Alec Jordan

Japan and Turkey agreed on a joint venture to develop tank engines in a deepening of defense cooperation between the two friendly nations.

In response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request for cooperation, Tokyo will pursue the project which will be led by Mitsubishi Heavy. The plan is also part of the Japanese government’s drive to promote joint weapons development with other countries.

A potential joint-venture partner for Mitsubishi Heavy will be selected by the Turkish government in January. The project will be the first Japanese-foreign endeavor for development and production of defense equipment.

Previously, Japan’s ban an arms exports barred its companies from participating in international weapons development projects. But the government eased the restrictions in 2011, allowing exceptions for projects that are likely to help improve national security or contribute to peace, as well as encourage international cooperation.

The two nations are expected to sign an agreement restricting the transfer of technologies to other countries. Ankara assured Tokyo that it will safeguard information amid fears that it could leak to China or elsewhere. Japan plans to seek prior consent for technology exports by Turkey.

Late last month, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Turkey on a trip aimed at reinforcing the economic ties between the two countries. Abe met with Erdogan where they forged a deal over building a nuclear power plant in the city of Sinop.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: skuds/Flickr