April 02, 2014 12:13
The Japanese government continues a campaign of eroding the country's pacifist rules set after its defeat in World War II by easing curbs on arms exports.
A cabinet meeting on Tuesday revised three established principles restricting arms exports so that weapons can be sold abroad if they serve "international cooperation" or Japan's national security.
The principles, first established in 1967, prohibit arms exports to communist countries, states that face UN arms embargoes and nations that are embroiled in international disputes. They were later expanded to a virtual ban on any arms exports.
But the revision merely commits Tokyo to scrutinizing the buyer's intentions and ensuring that the exports are not transferred to third parties without Japan's consent.
As a result, Japanese arms shipments are expected to increase significantly.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing to bolster Japan's military power to counter China's military expansion and the North Korean nuclear threat. He has said Tokyo needs to play a "larger role" in international peacekeeping and defense cooperation.
Experts predict the Abe administration will also use the latest revisions to bolster its own weapons arsenal.
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