Japan Reverses Fifty Year Defense Sharing Ban

In a move which represents the first defense technology transfer since they relaxed their military export rules last April, Japan has given the go ahead for the export to the US of a locally manufactured part for a missile defense system. Japan also will pursue a joint research project with Britain on technology for air-to-air missiles on fighter aircraft.

The new easing in military export rules nullifies the self-imposed Japanese ban on arms exports as a consequence of their anti-war constitution. It is a sign of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s interest in creating a more assertive defense position for Japan.

The decision gives a green light to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan’s major defense contractor, to export seeker gyro, which is a component of Patriot Defense Capability-2 surface-to-air missile defense system, to Raytheon Company. The gyro gives the missile the ability to identify, track and chase its targets.

Japan’s government also gave its seal of approval to participate in research with Britain on the Japanese seeker technology.

“It would not only strengthen national security and defense cooperation between Japan and Britain, but also could contribute to raise the capability of (Japan’s) Self-Defense Forces in the future,” said a joint statement issued by the foreign, defense and industry ministries.

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