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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9  > Japan's public-private cooperation selling weapons in Asia and Middle East
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2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9 [POLITICS]

Japan's public-private cooperation selling weapons in Asia and Middle East

December 22, 2017
The Defense Ministry's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) is promoting arms exports by selling Japanese companies' technologies to Asian and Mideastern nations.

Until three and half years ago, Japan prohibited itself from exporting weapons. Largely because of this, Japan had been able to win the trust of the world. However, Japan may lose its pacifist reputation as a possibility arises that made-in-Japan military equipment may be used in airstrikes abroad.

The ATLA on November 15 hosted a symposium where an agency representative spoke passionately about expansion of arms exports by aiming the sights on Southeast Asia as "a major breakthrough". Hayashi Mitsuko in charge of international affairs at the Agency said that Japan will host more bilateral negotiations so that military industrial corporations can have more trading opportunities. The quasi-newspaper of the Self-Defense Forces "Asagumo" reported that this pinpoint business venture is "a unique effort made jointly by the public and private sectors hoping to expand business opportunities" (Oct.19). Japan has already organized such business ventures with Indonesia, India, and Vietnam.

The Abe government is also extending its feelers toward the Middle East. Japan for the first time participated in the Dubai Airshow held in November in the United Arab Emirates. The Agency exhibited and promoted a new C-2 transport aircraft manufactured by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Hayashi said that the ATLA made efforts to "secure the best place to showcase" the Kawasaki C-2.

On December 7 at a House committee meeting on defense, in response to Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Inoue Satoshi, the Defense Ministry revealed the names of the companies having taken part in the bilateral business meetings. The attendees include Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Hitachi Corporation, military clothing supplier Kuraray, and trading house Marubeni Corporation in addition to the key military industrial corporations Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, IHI Corporation, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

Inoue in the same meeting pointed out that a severe humanitarian crisis due to airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and UAE-led allied forces has been unfolding in Yemen where a civil war continues. He criticized Japan's arms exports for "giving a helping hand to the attacks resulting in worsening the humanitarian crisis," and added, "Japan should restrict itself to contributing to diplomacy and humanitarian support."

Past related articles:
> ‘Merchant of death’ fair held in Tokyo amid public protest [October 16, 2016]
> Japanese-made weapons to be displayed at international expo [June 1, 2014]
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