Military news

Arms exhibition held in Japan triggers domestic criticism

2017-06-15 10:10:00 (Beijing Time)         Xinhua

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A three-day arms exhibition that served the role of helping to bolster Japan's military role and its arms export to Southeast Asian nations ended Wednesday in Japans' Chiba Prefecture, drawing criticism from the public.

Japanese civil groups held rallies during the event to protest against the government's attempt of expanding the country's arms export.

According to the organizer, the Maritime Air Systems and Technologies Asia (MAST) exhibition, sponsored by the Japanese defense, foreign, and industry ministries to lure Southeast Asian buyers, gathered over 160 firms from 33 countries including Japanese firms Hitachi, Ltd. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The Japanese defense ministry also held a meeting with some Southeast Asian nations to discuss matters related to arms export after the exhibition closed, local media reported Wednesday.

Dozens of people from Japan's civil groups held demonstrations everyday near the exhibition site with banners that read "Stop Arms Export" and "Stop Manufacturing War Tools".

An anti-arms export group issued a statement on Monday stating that Japan's constitution stipulates that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained".

It said the government's move to hold such an arms exhibition is in violation of the constitution and urged the government and related defense firms to stop arms export.

The Japanese Cabinet approved new principles and guidelines on arms export in April, 2014, marking a major change on the war-renouncing country's defense stance for the first time in nearly half a century.

The new principles allow Japan to export weapons under certain circumstances and pave the way for the country to acquire more advanced weapons and military technologies through joint development with its allies.

Analysts say that the relaxation of weapons exports is part of the Abe administration's move to gut Japan's pacifist constitution and build on its military capacities both at home and internationally.