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Japan approves missile defence sale to the US

JAPAN announced its return to the arms exports market today by approving the sale to the US of a missile defence system component.

It is also launching joint research with Britain on air-to-air missile technology for fighter jets.

Approval of the component’s sale marks the first military technology transfer since Tokyo changed its military export rules in April.

The policy change reverses Japan’s 1967 self-imposed ban on arms exports under a pacifist constitution.

Conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is intent on giving Japan a more assertive military stance.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries can now export seeker gyros to US military hardware maker Raytheon for its Patriot Defence Capability-2 surface-to-air missile system.

The joint research with Britain uses Japanese seeker technology and is a simulation-based project linked to a Meteor missile development.

Japanese officials hope that the research can lead to technology that can be used for F-35 stealth fighters that Japan plans to buy.

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