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Red flags raised as Japan mulls repeal of arms ban

By Xiong Xiaowei (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

14:47, October 19, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

According to Japanese media reports, Yoshihiko Noda, who just took over the position of Yukio Hatoyama as Japan's new prime minister, is again considering revising the Three Principles on Arms Exports, a long-standing ban on weapons exports. Why does the Japanese government always want to revise the three principles? What are its ulterior motives?

The Kyodo news agency reported that the Democratic Party of Japan recently urged the government to start revising the Three Principles on Arms Exports as soon as possible at a defense meeting. According to a Yomiuri Shimbun report, Noda is considering relaxing the ban and will talk with U.S. President Barack Obama about it at a U.S.-Japan summit meeting in November this year.

The Three Principles on Arms Exports dates to 1967, which prohibited Japan's arms deals with Communist countries, countries subject to embargo under UN resolutions and countries involved in international conflicts. The three principles were tightened into an absolute ban on weapons exports in 1976, which have completely prohibited the country from exporting weapons or participating in multi-nation technology projects.

When developing the new National Defense Program Outline in 2010, the Hatoyama administration tried to grasp the opportunity to relax the weapons export ban, but failed due to strong opposition from the Social Democratic Party. The new Noda administration has learned from Hatoyama's mistake and made great efforts to seek the support of all political parties. Shigeru Ishiba, a lawmaker from the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, said that if such a bill is submitted to the parliament, the Liberal Democratic Party will actively cooperate to make it into law.

Regarding the reason for the adjustment, the Defense Minister of Japan Toshimi Kitazawa said that, because of the Three Principles of Arms Export, it is hard for Japan to participate in international weapon development and production projects, such as the development of the next-generation fighter plane, and therefore Japan's military industry is falling behind. If the limitations are abolished, Japan will be able to share and also jointly develop and invest in high-end technologies with other countries but also obtain high incomes by exporting weapons and use the incomes in its national defense.

However, analysts pointed out that Japan intends to get more. After World War II, Japan had to accept the Peace Constitution and its military power and overseas military operations would be strictly limited. Since then, Japan has been trying to realize "military normalization" by ambiguous actions. "Military normalization" has objectively become a goal of Japan's security policies. Kyodo News Agency points out that Japan has been gradually changing its exclusively defensive defense policies in recent years by participating in international operations, such as the peacekeeping operation of the Untied Nations.

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Leave your comment5 comments

  1. Name

arkhangelsk at 2011-10-25210.177.156.*
To be blunt, as far as Japan is concerned, the political advantages of Article 9 had pretty much been exhausted by 1990. After that, it is probably a net shackle.
Ching Wei Narayanan at 2011-10-25193.108.78.*
The WWII structure is crumbling as it is outdated. Japan has to develop a new archtecture to adjust to new realities, which involve less US involvement in NE Asia and more competition in the Indo-Pacific rim. In any case, Japan is a status quo power which does not have ambitions beyond its islands except with a view to ensure rights of free commerical navigation over the high seas. If a country does not intent to threaten Japan"s economic lifelines then it should have no reason to feel threated to Japanese adjustments to the changing world order.
arkhangelsk at 2011-10-24210.177.156.*
@wende Yes it is. Now, take one guess as to which country is MOST responsible these days for creating a need for Japan to improve its military.Besides, since China exports weapons, it has no right to complain about anyone else doing so.
ari at 2011-10-21175.137.234.*
This matter should be raised at the UN Security meeting and Japan prevented from re-arming itself. As a Security Council member, China must show its mettle or forever be seen as a whining complaining "woman". It did not do what needed to be done when the opportunity was there but only know how to whine and pleat after the event. No forward planning and anticipative moves.
wende at 2011-10-1971.255.93.*
This is just an excuse to openly improve Japan"s military. Although Japan has been improving its military in secrecy, removal of the ban will lead it to expand exponentially.

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