Kishida Warns of Negative Impact if Fighter Exports Not Allowed

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a meeting of the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida warned Tuesday that Japan’s defense will be negatively impacted if the country is not allowed to export finished defense equipment developed jointly with other countries to third nations.

At a meeting of the Budget Committee of the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Diet, Kishida called for understanding of the government’s plan to enable the export of such internationally developed defense equipment.

The prime minister noted that Britain and Italy want to export to third countries a next-generation fighter jet they will jointly develop with Japan.

Kishida was responding to questions from Makoto Nishida, a senior member of Komeito, the coalition partner of his Liberal Democratic Party. Komeito is cautious about such defense equipment exports to third countries.

“To ensure the peace and stability of our country, the development of a state-of-the-art next-generation fighter jet is crucial,” Kishida stressed, adding that joint development with Britain and Italy is “the best option from cost and other viewpoints.”

The Komeito lawmaker argued that public understanding is “essential” for allowing such defense exports. “We need to continue discussions (on the issue),” he said.

Currently, the implementation guidelines for the three principles on defense equipment transfers only allow exports of five types of defense equipment—rescue, transport, vigilance, surveillance and minesweeping.