Japan Eases Export Rules to Meet GCAP Tempest Program Requirements

Traditionally pacifist, Japan is one of the most restrictive countries when it comes to defense equipment exports. Although its defense industry is efficient and produces equipment that is often effective, the Japanese legislative framework firmly prohibits the export of lethal military equipment, and very strictly regulates the export of others.

This position obviously poses major problems in the context of the Global Combat Air Program, or GCAP, the new name for the FCAS Tempest program since Tokyo announced that it would join it alongside Great Britain and Italy a few months ago.

Indeed, if London and Rome enthusiastically welcomed Japanese industry and funding to develop their future 6th generation combat aircraft, there was no question that Tokyo could oppose possible exports thereafter, in particular to certain traditional partners of the British aeronautical industry such as Saudi Arabia, the Kuwait or Oman.

It was therefore essential for the Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and its centrist ally the Kômeitô party, toamend the current legislative framework in this area, so as to give the British and Italians the guarantees required to calmly pursue the development of this program.

The agreement obtained by the PLD-Kômeitô on the revision of the rules for the export of arms by Japan, meets at least the expectations of the executive
The agreement obtained by the PLD-Kômeitô around the revision of the rules for the export of Japanese defense equipment, meets at least the expectations of the executive

The least that can be said is that the traditional Japanese posture in this area is dying. Indeed, despite the declarations of the authorities on the subject, the PLD-Kômeitô commission responsible for reaching an agreement on this subject, produced conclusions meeting at least the requirements of the executive.

Thus, if the Japanese parliamentarians agreed that it was not possible to prohibit the export of materials produced in cooperation, as will be the case of the GCAP, they did not however give an unlimited agreement in this field, obliging to obtain, with each new offer, a formal agreement of the parliament to authorize the export.

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