Government to review arms export ban

Chief Cabinet Secretary Fukuda Yasuo on December 18 indicated that the government will review its policy of banning Japan from arms trade apparently with the aim of paving the way for Japan's participation in the U.S.-led missile defense project.

At a regular news briefing Fukuda said, "Some pose the question of whether it is appropriate to continue to prevent Japan's know-how, products, or parts from being exchanged or offered (to the United States)" because of the arms export ban.

The government's Three-Principles on Arms Exports, which were set out by then Prime Minister Sato Eisaku in a House of Representatives committee meeting on April 21, 1967, was gutted when Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro's cabinet in 1983 decided to begin to provide arms technology to the United States.

Since then, 13 technology transfers have taken place, including one for portable ground-to-air missiles. Regular Japan-U.S. meetings have been held to discuss bilateral cooperation in this field.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and other major munition companies are taking part in joint technological research on "missile defense".

The review of the arms export ban will pave the way for equipment jointly developed and manufactured for the missile defense system to be put on the global market.

Akahata of December 19 warned that lifting the arms export ban will undermine the constitutional principles of peace. (end)

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