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Japan to relax decades-old weapons export ban (2)


13:30, December 25, 2011

According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the shifting security dynamic in the Asia Pacific region has acted as a catalyst for Japan moving forward with repealing its ban on weapons exports.

Japan's self-imposed weapons ban dates back to 1967 and was introduced by then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato.

In 1976 the ban was heightened, although exceptions were made with weapons-related technologies being exported to the United States in 1983, and joint projects on anti-missile hardware also conducted in collaboration with the United States.

Relaxing the export ban however will almost certainly draw the ire of Japanese politicians and citizens, not to mention the global community, favoring Japan's so-called pacifist stance and will spark extensive debate on political, national and international levels.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution forbids the use of force as a means to settling international disputes, but also forbids Japan from maintaining an army, navy or air force.

But the latest move by the government has led some military experts to conclude that Japan is taking a more muscular approach to its defense as its security alliance with the United States tightens.

However, Japan relaxing its ban on weapons exports would be well-received by the United States as it would lead to a myriad of joint opportunities between Washington and Tokyo and have far- reaching defense and economic implications for both countries.

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PD User at 2011-12-25124.210.129.*
Relaxation of this ban on the weaons" export means not only abandonment of the Item 9 of the constitution but Japan"s resumption of rearmament, which is likely to touch off arms race and military tension in Asia.

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