LDP-Komeito Team Urges Japan PM to Ease Defense Equipment Export Restrictions

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Itsunori Onodera, chairman of an LDP-Komeito working team on defense exports, speaks to the media after a meeting with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida received a proposal at his office on Friday in a meeting with former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera that recommended easing the export restrictions of defense equipment. The proposal was compiled by members of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito in a working team chaired by Onodera.

The government intends to revise the Three Principles on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology, as well as the principles’ implementation guidelines, to reflect the proposal.

The current operational guidelines for the three principles strictly restrict exports of defense equipment and technology, including licensed products that are manufactured in Japan by paying patent fees to foreign companies.

The main point of the proposal is to fully permit the export of such licensed defense equipment to countries that hold patents on the equipment. The proposal also calls for allowing provision of equipment that is not categorized as weapons under the Self-Defense Forces Law to countries facing aggression.

Meanwhile, the working team will resume discussion next year on whether to allow the export of a next-generation fighter aircraft, which will be developed by Japan jointly with the United Kingdom and Italy, to countries other than the developing partners. No conclusion has yet been reached between the two ruling parties.