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Japan to relax decades-old weapons export ban


13:29, December 25, 2011

TOKYO, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Japanese defense minister Yasuo Ichikawa said Saturday that the government intends to relax its decades-old restriction on weapons exports to facilitate the participation of Japanese companies in future multinational arms development projects.

The official decision to relax the ban is expected to be made by Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Tuesday, with the government likely to state that the joint development projects will be primarily associated with improving aged-machinery for Japan's Self-Defense Forces that are used by Japan during United Nation's peacekeeping operations.

In addition, Ichikawa also noted at a news conference earlier on Saturday, that Japan's involvement in joint weapons production with other countries would aid the Ministry of Defense's rising spending costs.

Collaborations with other countries would help offset some of the huge costs associated with new, state-of-the-art defense technology, the defense minister added.

"We will build a new framework," Ichikawa told reporters. "The cost of highly capable defense equipment has increased".

Defense experts have noted however that there is anxiety among Japanese leaders that the nation's defense capabilities are falling behind those of other countries, at a time when uncertainties, such as those on the Korean Peninsular following the death of the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jon Il, loom in close proximity to Japan.

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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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