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2014年4月 3日 (木)

防衛装備3原則 移転の透明性確保が重要だ

The Yomiuri Shimbun April 02, 2014
Ensuring transparency will be key to defense equipment exports
防衛装備3原則 移転の透明性確保が重要だ

The government should actively promote the joint development and production of weapons and related

technologies with other nations as part of Japan’s international cooperation under the newly established

guidelines on exports of defense equipment.


On Tuesday, the government adopted the “three principles on transferring defense equipment,”

replacing the three principles on arms exports.

The government will continue to ban exports to nations subject to embargoes under U.N. resolutions as

well as those involved in conflicts. On the other hand, the guidelines allow the government, after

intensive review, to export and transfer weapons and related technologies if doing so promises to

contribute to world peace or to benefit Japan’s national security. The new policies are a complete

overhaul of a 1976 government policy that effectively banned all weapons exports.


The old principles were phrased as though exporting weapons and providing weapons-related

technologies to other nations were evil deeds. The significance of revising this underlying idea and

establishing a new policy that emphasizes national security and promotes cooperation with other

countries on defense equipment is huge.


As a result of the country’s long-standing blanket ban on arms exports—which seems to have been

excessive self-regulation—almost all Japan-made weapons have been procured by the Self-Defense

Forces. Domestic production was limited, which resulted in inflated prices. The ban has become a major

obstacle to defense equipment production in Japan and to the maintenance of the necessary

technological base, two foundations of Japan’s national security.


The new guidelines also enable Japan to export completed weapons and parts under security

cooperation agreements with other nations, including relief activities, transportation and surveillance. We

expect that the shift to mass production will lead to a subsequent drop in the prices of Japan-produced

weapons and enhanced competitiveness for domestic companies.


Moderate approach

In cases where importing countries consider using Japan-made weapons or technologies for purposes

beyond those originally intended or transferring them to other nations, those countries must obtain prior

approval from Japan. However, this process could be simplified, for example by having Japan examine

the management systems of these countries in the case of minor deals, such as the transfer of parts that

comprise only a minor part of a complete product. We believe this is a realistic and moderate approach.


The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry is responsible for approving exports and transfers of defense

equipment, but important deals will be assessed by the National Security Council. Details of such deals

will be made public after receiving NSC approval, and the trade ministry will issue annual reports on

such matters.


As the new guidelines enable the transfer of defense equipment not allowed under the former

principles, ensuring transparency is crucial.

What will be important going forward is to steadily expand and increase cooperation with other


In December 2011, the government virtually lifted the ban on joint development and production with

other countries, but this yielded very minor results, including the joint development of a chemical-proof

suit with Britain.


In recent years, developing fighter jets and other state-of-the-art military equipment together with other

nations has become the prevailing trend. To improve the nation’s defense technology and curb

development costs, Japan should proactively engage in joint projects with the United States and

European countries.


It will be important to strengthen Japan’s existing systems for collecting information on nations to which

it considers exporting weapons, as well as the framework for cooperation on defense equipment. The

development and training of specialist personnel also cannot be neglected.

In addition, the government should promote exports of patrol ships and rescue planes to countries in

Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Helping such nations reinforce their maritime security capabilities

would directly impact the safety of Japan’s sea-lanes. Japan should seek international cooperation that

provides mutual benefit.


(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 2, 2014)


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