Japan has approved the export of a locally-made component for a missile defense system to the U.S. and is launching joint research with Britain on air-to-air missile technology for fighter jets.
The approval late Thursday marks the first defense technology transfer since Japan eased military export rules in April.
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The policy change reverses Japan's 1967 self-imposed ban on arms exports under its war-renouncing constitution. It comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government wants to give Japan a more assertive defense posture.
Under the approval, made by the National Security Council, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. can export seeker gyro, a component for Patriot Defense Capability-2 surface-to-air missile defense system, to a U.S. defense equipment maker Raytheon Co.
Mitsubishi has been licensed to produce seeker gyros for Raytheon, which stopped producing them itself. Mitsubishi-made seeker gyros would be transferred to Qatar, Hotchi said.
Separately, Japan's joint research with Britain uses Japanese seeker technology and is a simulation-based project linked to a Meteor missile development among European countries.
Japanese officials are hoping the research can lead to a technology that can be used for F-35 stealth fighter jets that Japan plans to buy for its Air Self-Defense Forces.