Japan, Philippines to discuss transfer of military goods

TOKYO: Japan and the Philippines agreed on Thursday to start talks on transferring Japanese military hardware and technology to the Southeast Asian country trying to upgrade its defences.

Tokyo eased restrictions on exports of military equipment and technology last year as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe`s pushto expand Japan`s military role abroad.

Under a strategic partnership agreement signed by Abe and visiting Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, the two countries will begin talks aimed at the export of Japanese hardware that may include anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and radar technology. The rules and details would still have to be discussed.

Japanese media reported that P-3C anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and radar technology are possible export items. A sale of the P-3C, originally designed by Lockeed Martin Corp.

and produced in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, would be a more fully fledged military export than those currently being discussed under the new rules.

Tokyo has signed defence cooperation agreements with a number of countries to complement its cornerstone alliance with the United States. It is discussing exporting US-2 amphibious aircraft mainly for maritime rescue purposes to India, and is competing against France and Germany to build Australia`s next submarine fleet.

The strategic partnership agreement with the Philippines focuses on defence and security cooperation, but also includes economic assistance from Japan. The two countries also agreed to bolster exchanges between their militaries through defense talks and joint exercises, as well as in disaster relief efforts.-AP

Published in Dawn