Japan Govt Presents Draft Revision of Defense Equipment Export Guidelines; Importing Countries Must Agree to Restrictions

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Prime Minister’s Office

The government presented a draft revision of the Implementation Guidelines for the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology to a working team of Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito members on Wednesday. The working team is considering easing the restrictions on the export of defense equipment.

In order to export equipment jointly developed with other countries, the government’s proposal states that Japan will require the importing country to agree in advance to restrictions on its use and transfer to a third country. The aim is to provide a measure of checks and balances amid the move to expand exports of defense equipment.

On top of equipment developed jointly with other countries, the prior consent will also apply to equipment manufactured in Japan under a licensed production contract in which manufacturers producing the equipment in Japan pay patent fees to foreign companies.

In the case of international joint development, when equipment is to be exported to a country not involved, Japan will require the importing country to agree to strict controls to prevent unauthorized use.

In the case of licensed production, when the finished product is shipped to the country from which the license was obtained, Japan will require that country to agree not to export the product to countries or regions that are in conflict.

Japan plans to jointly develop a next-generation fighter aircraft with Britain and Italy, and the working team has agreed to allow the direct transfer of the aircraft from Japan to other countries. In the case of products made in Japan under license from U.S. companies, the team also intends to allow them to be exported on from the United States to third countries.

The team plans to finalize details based on the government’s proposal. The ruling parties aim to reach an agreement and make a proposal to the government by the end of this year.