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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 May 20 - 26  > Abe wants to export more arms by establishing an additional defense-related agency
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2015 May 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Abe wants to export more arms by establishing an additional defense-related agency

May 19 & 26, 2015
The Abe administration is seeking to establish a “defense equipment agency” to promote arms exports. A bill to set up the new agency has already been passed through the House of Representatives and is now awaiting House of Councilors discussions.

The proposed agency would focus on improving the efficiency of purchases and exports of weapons.

The Defense Ministry-affiliated agency would exclusively manage research and development of weapons, their mass production, arms procurement, and their disposal. The tentatively-named agency would also actively participate in international joint development/production projects involving military equipment and in the arms market under the name of “international cooperation”.

The Abe Cabinet has consistently intended to increase military spending and to enhance arms trade. In April last year, it changed direction from Japan’s long-standing principles banning arms exports to allowing Japan to export weapons.

In the wake of this about-face, the Defense Ministry has initiated talks with several European, Asian, and Middle Eastern nations toward joint development of weapons as well as arms trade.

The Japanese military industry has long been demanding that Japan spend more on military-related projects. An increase in arms trade would give the weapons industry an opportunity to produce more weapons than before, and the industry would boost its political muscle.

The Japanese Communist Party is opposed to the establishment of an “arms export agency” because it runs directly counter to the pacifistic spirit of the Japanese Constitution.

Such an agency also violates the 1945 Potsdam Declaration which reportedly Prime Minister Abe has never even bothered to read. The terms for Japanese surrender do not permit Japan to maintain industries “which would enable her to re-arm for war”.

Past related article:
> Gov’t abandons Japan’s arms embargo principles [April 2, 2014]
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