The Liberal Democratic Party and the Democratic Party of Japan, the two largest political parties in Japan, both back the idea of selling converted military equipment on the civilian market.

This proposal would directly lead to sales of Japanese military equipment to other countries after converting them into civilian products. This idea cuts straight to the very heart of Japan’s peace diplomacy since it could pave the way for easing the three principles regarding arms exports. (Link)

Specifically, the Japanese are thinking of selling civilian versions of the C-2 heavy airlifter, the P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, and the US-2 amphibian. The C-2 compares favorably with the Airbus A400M airlifter, while the P-1 could be outfitted to fly for civilian airliners hauling passengers or cargo. The US-2 amphibian is said to be suitable for search and rescue and firefighting.

Japan’s shrinking aerospace industrial base is driving this proposed change in policy. The Japanese military-industrial complex is shrinking (an utterly alien concept to this American) due to the fact that manufacturers are currently locked into selling to one customer–the Self Defense Forces, who don’t always buy equipment in numbers that corporations can turn a profit on. Both the LDP and DPJ realize government must open up a new market for these companies if it wants to keep them in the defense business.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 596 post(s) on Japan Security Watch