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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Joint arms projects with U.K. planned

Kyodo

Japan plans to jointly engage in weapons development with Britain, marking the government's first such effort with a country other than the United States.

The measure is expected to be formally agreed on when Prime Minister David Cameron comes to Japan on Tuesday, officials said Thursday.

The agreement will be included in a joint statement Cameron and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will issue at the end of the British leader's visit, they said.

The agreement will be the first since the government decided in December to relax the nation's long-standing arms export ban and permit joint weapons development and production with countries other than the United States.

Japan and the U.S. have been collaborating on missile-defense systems since 1983. With the arms ban eased, countries such as Britain and France are also keen to develop weapons with Japan because of its advanced technology.

By jointly developing weapons, Japan and Britain, both allies of the United States, hope to deepen cooperative security ties, the officials said.

The measure is also seen as a way to "make up for" Japan's decision last year to stick with the U.S. for a new mainstay fighter, one official said.

In December, Japan chose the F-35 stealth jet over its competitors, including the Eurofighter Typhoon, which was strongly pushed by Britain.



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