MOFA: Japan's Policies on the Control of Arms Exports

Japan's Policies on the Control of Arms Exports

  1. The Government of Japan has been dealing carefully with "arms" exports in accordance with the Three Principles on Arms Exports (hereinafter referred to as "the Three Principles") and their related policy in order to avoid any possible aggravation of international conflicts.

  2. Under the Three Principles, "arms" exports to the following countries or regions shall not be permitted:

    (1) communist bloc countries,
    (2) countries subject to "arms" exports embargo under the United Nations Security Council's resolutions, and
    (3) countries involved in or likely to be involved in international conflicts.

    The Three Principles have been the basic policy concerning Japan's "arms" exports since they were declared at the Diet session in 1967.

  3. Subsequently, in February 1976, the Government of Japan announced the collateral policy guideline at the Diet session that the "arms" exports to other areas not included in the Three Principles will be also restrained in conformity with Japan's position as a peace-loving nation. In other words, the collateral policy guideline declared that the Government of Japan shall not promote "arms" exports, regardless of the destinations.

  4. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) controls Japan's "arms" exports, based on the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Law. The exports of "arms" and equipment for arms production listed in the Export Trade Control Order (see Annex) require export licenses to all destinations, since those transactions could be obstructive to the maintenance of international peace and security. In addition, "arms" trades mediated between foreign countries by Japanese agent need METT's permission.

  5. The term "arms" as referred to in the Three Principles is defined as "goods which are listed in Item 1 of Annexed List 1 of the Export Trade Control Order of Japan (see Annex), and which are to be used by military forces and directly employed in combat." Such "arms" include specially-designed parts and accessories as well as finished products. The question of whether each item falls under such "arms" or not will be judged objectively based on its shape, feature and other technical aspects, and regardless of its end-use. On the other hand, so-called dual-use items do not fall under such "arms."

  6. Based on other relevant laws, the Government of Japan also deals with in a strict manner:

    (1) direct overseas investment for the purpose of manufacturing "arms" abroad, and
    (2) participation in the overseas construction projects of military facilities.

  7. The export of technologies which are exclusively related to the design, production and use of "arms" as defined in paragraph 5 above (hereinafter referred to as the "military technologies") is treated in the same manner as the export of "arms." However, in order to ensure the effective operation of the Japan-United States security arrangements, the Government of Japan paved the way for the transfer of the military technologies to the United States as an exception to the Three Principles. Such transfer of military technologies to the United States is to be implemented in accordance with the Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement (the MDA Agreement) and the Exchange of Notes concerning the Transfer of Military Technologies concluded in 1983 under the MDA Agreement (the 1983 Exchange of Notes).

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