Japan is considering to bring an end a self-imposed ban on weapons exports to allow exports of defense equipment to international organizations.
This would give Japan leeway to export weapons for UN peacekeeping operations on condition they do not take sides in conflicts, reports Kyodo News.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing to expand the military’s role in a turnaround from its post-war pacifist constitution. The move would likely stoke tensions with neighboring China and South Korea, where resentment of Japan’s wartime aggression runs deep.
Japan’s 1967 principles on arms exports bans sales to countries with communist governments, those involved in international conflict or those subject to UN sanctions.
The overarching ban also restricted the development and production of weapons with countries other than the United States.
The government is also considering easing rules on the transfer of its defence equipment to third parties. Under current rules, countries buying defense equipment from Japan need to get Japan’s approval before they can transfer it to a third party.
Abe aims to lift constraints placed by Article 9 of Japan’s constitution, which states Japan “renounces the right to wage war.” He wants to expand the military’s role in terms of defense amid what he says is a changing security environment.
By Maesie Bertumen