武器輸出新原則 防衛産業維持にも目を向けよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun December 16, 2013
Govt must consider how to maintain defense industry, production base
武器輸出新原則 防衛産業維持にも目を向けよ(12月16日付・読売社説)

Japan should reinforce its international cooperation in the area of defense equipment and maintain its defense technology and production base as national security priorities.

The government and ruling parties have started drastically reviewing the three principles on arms exports and drawing up new rules on arms exports.

The three principles, confirmed in 1967 by the administration of then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato, prohibit Japan from exporting arms to countries in the Communist bloc, countries to which arms exports are banned by U.N. resolutions and countries involved in conflict.

In 1976, the administration under then Prime Minister Takeo Miki went so far as to effectively ban all such exports, saying the nation must refrain from exporting arms to even countries not subject to the three principles.

Since 1983, however, the government had made one exception after another to the principles, as confirmed in informal remarks made by chief cabinet secretaries, providing the United States with weapons technology, exporting mine detectors and patrol vessels for peace-building efforts and jointly developing and producing missile defense equipment with other countries.

As a result, the whole system has become extremely complex and hard to understand.

This time, the administration under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to end the total ban and to narrow the list of countries subject to export restrictions, while at the same time making the whole system more consistent. Such efforts to meet the needs of the times are appropriate.

Enhance national security

The important thing is to create a standard that will enhance Japan’s national security.

In light of the recent military developments in China and North Korea, the international situation surrounding Japan has become ever harsher.

Expanding cooperation in the area of defense equipment with such countries as the United States, an ally of Japan, European countries and Australia will stimulate the improvement of Japan’s defense technology and the reinforcement of international cooperation, thus contributing to the peace and security of Japan.

It is important to expand international cooperation by making it possible for Japan to export finished products, and parts and components of arms, in addition to joint development and production of arms with other countries.

It is also necessary to establish procedures appropriately to prevent the arms from being transferred to a third country and to tighten export controls on general-purpose parts that can be used either militarily or commercially.

The government and ruling parties must discuss these issues properly and work out a conclusion soon.

It must be kept in mind that because the government’s defense budgets were cut back for 10 years in a row up to fiscal 2012, Japan’s defense technology and domestic production base has been undermined.

In the past 10 years, nearly 90 private companies have pulled out of the defense industry, making it hard in some areas to secure technicians with specific skills.

As tanks, destroyers and fighter planes become ever more technologically advanced, the unit price of the equipment rises. Repair and maintenance costs for the equipment have also been rising. As a result, the government has no choice but to reduce the amount of such equipment procured, putting a strain on the management of companies in the defense industry.

The decline in the nation’s defense technology and its production base will directly lead to the decline in the nation’s overall defense capability. The government needs to discuss ways to maintain and foster the nation’s defense industry in earnest under the constraint of limited defense spending.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 16, 2013)
(2013年12月16日01時22分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2013-12-18 06:19 | 英字新聞

<< 張成沢氏処刑 失政への不満封じ... 日・ASEAN 海と空で対中連... >>