With a wary eye on its belligerent neighbors, Japan will allow its domestic military manufacturers to export their wares for the first time in decades. The security situation in East Asia grows more dangerous and uncertain all the time: Yesterday North Korea fired hundreds of artillery shells across its western sea border with South Korea, and tensions between China and Japan continue to escalate over the disputed islands in the South China Sea. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has long supported arms exports as a way to increase Japan’s defensive capabilities and economic prowess.As one Japanese professor told Reuters:
“This is beneficial for Japanese companies in that they can take part in joint development and joint production and have access to cutting-edge technology.” […]“If you live in a closed market like the Japanese defense industry does, you clearly lag behind in technological development.”
Some countries have already expressed an interest in Japanese-produced armaments. Australia is eyeing Kawasaki Heavy’s diesel engines, which allow submarines to stay under water for long periods, while India may purchase an amphibious aircraft made by ShinMaywa Industries.Japan hopes to develop coastal defense vehicles and equipment. With the Norks shooting off mid-range missiles and threatening to attempt a “new form of nuclear test,” and the Chinese coast guard regularly sailing near the disputed islands, it’s easy to see why.