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U.K. Defense Secretary Shapps Expresses Concern about Japan’s Stalled Discussions Regarding Exporting Defense Equipment

The Yomiuri Shimbun
British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps speaks during a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps has expressed concerns about Japan’s stalled discussion regarding reviewing guidelines for implementing the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology, eyeing Japan, Britain and Italy’s joint development of next-generation fighter jets.

The guidelines prohibit Japan from exporting internationally jointly developed products to third countries.

A working team of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito have been discussing easing the rules on exporting to third countries, however, a decision has been postponed due to senior Komeito officials urging caution.

At a press conference at the British Embassy in Tokyo on Thursday, Shapps said the fighter jet project would not be able to move forward if the guidelines for implementing the principles were not reviewed. He also stressed that it was time for Japan to review the guidelines, considering its global position.

Shapps met with Defense Minister Minoru Kihara and Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosseto at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo earlier on the day. They confirmed to deepen cooperation for the deployment of next-generation fighter jets by 2035.