After almost 50 years of enforcing a ban on arms exports, Japan’s ruling parties have approved new regulations that will allow the nation to participate in the export of weapons. As the Cabinet is set to approve the new guidelines next week, worries remain that Japan’s pacifist nature will be compromised with the new policy if it goes unchecked.
Speaking to reporters, Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker and project team leader Takeshi Iwaya said, “We reached a basic agreement on the overall picture (of the rules).” Aside from the new guidelines, the team intends to include and publish export data in annual reports after the review of the National Security Council. The reports would include deals allowed by the NSC and the ministries to ensure accountability. Screenings on the feasibility of export will be conducted by the defense, foreign and trade ministries and the NSC will be the final say in the transaction when the deals require caution and are deemed very important.
While the LDP’s junior coalition partner, New Komeito, has continuously called for further transparency in transactions, head of the coalition’s panel on diplomacy and defense Isamu Ueda found the decision-making process and information disclosure set by the group as “systematic.” Arms exports to countries engaged in conflict is still prohibited under the new rules drafted. It also puts an embargo on exports that would violate U.N. resolutions. The drafted rules specified that exports would be allowed as long as their objective is to contribute to international cooperation and security interests of Japan, including no transfer of Japanese equipment to third parties. In 1967, Japan implemented the “three principles” on arms exports that state a ban on transfer of weapons to communist nations, countries subject to ban under U.N. resolution and those involved in conflict. A change in 2012 allowed the nation to export weapons for humanitarian and peaceful purposes.
[via Kyodo News]