Japan 'loosens' defence export ban

Tokyo, May 29 (IANS) Moving with the times, the Japanese government has decided to "loosen the ban" on export of defence goods, a senior official said here Wednesday.

The easing of the defence export ban could mean that Japan could sell its amphibious aircraft US-2 (ShinMaywa) to India, Tonohika Taniguchi, councillor and a member of the Japanese prime minister's strategic team, said here.

The ShinMaywa US-2, known as the flying boat, is an STOL (short takeoff and landing) large amphibious aircraft used for air-sea rescue missions.

Japan has not been selling defence goods and equipment to other countries owing to a ban on this.

"The Japan government itself imposed the ban on defence goods' exports. To catch up with the reality of the 21st century, the Japan government has decided to loosen the ban," Taniguchi said.

However, he added that the easing of the ban did not mean that all defence goods would be allowed export.

"We are not saying that we can freely export anything, anywhere. But we can cooperate with countries like India in this," Taniguchi said.

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