A summary of the Noda Cabinet’s decision on Japan’s arms’ export policy has been circulating through the media and appearing in various online editions. I have just downloaded the official document that was distributed to the media at the reporters meeting with Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura, which represents the actual changes to the policy. This will be translated and digested and written about…sometime. In the mean time this is the summary:



From the point of view of the security of Japan and the US,   by advancing joint international development and production of defense equipment with countries other than the US in which there is a cooperative security relationship, by way of the  acquisition of the latest defense technologies, we should seek to  maintain the capability of, and increase the sophistication of Japan’s defense industry, its technological base, as well as strive to cut defense procurement costs.

In regards to projects that are in line with Japan’s commitment to contribution to peace and in line with Japan international cooperation, the transfer of defense equipment overseas will be possible.  In situations were Japan provides defense equipment to other nations’ governments,  we will allow this on the assumption that the transfer will take place within a framework of strict management that prevents,without prior consent from the Japanese government, the use outside the initially intended purposes, or transfer to other nations.

 In regards to international joint development and production, if it contributes to the improvement of Japan’s security、the implementation of a collaborative security relationship with Japan should be pursued. Countries wishing to use the provisioned equipment outside of the initially intended purposes or transfer it to third party countries will be obliged to receive the prior consent of the Japanese government. Unless there are strict and adequate systems in place to prevent the further transfer of co-developed/produced equipment to third party countries, prior consent will not be given.

The Three Principles of Arms Exports are based on the fundamental principle of Japan as a peaceful nation that desires to avoid playing a part in the promotion of international conflict. Exports that undermine this desire will continue to be treated with considerable prudence.

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Corey Wallace joined Japan Security Watch in 2011. He writes on Japan security-related topics, focusing on issues and stories that may not find their way into the English language media. He also hosts the blog Sigma1 where he writes on Japanese domestic politics and broader issues in international relations. Prior to taking up a PhD Corey was a participant on the JET program (2004-2007) and on returning to New Zealand he worked at the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology from 2007-2010 as a policy adviser. Corey lectures two courses at the University of Auckland. One is on the international relations of the Asia-Pacific, which contains a significant focus on East Asia security issues. The other is a course on China's international relations. His primary academic interests before his current Japan focus were science and technology politics/policy, issues of ethnic identity, and Chinese modern history and politics. He carries over his interest in issues of identity and history into his PhD where he is looking at generationally situated concepts of national identity and their impact on foreign policy ideas in Japan.
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