Japan is set to approve its first arms export following relaxation of its self-imposed ban, a report said on Sunday.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries plans to export a high-performance sensor to the United States, which will use it in the Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile defense system to be exported to Qatar, the Nikkei business daily said without citing sources.
A Japanese media report said, "If Mitsubishi Heavy Industries applies for an export permit, we will decide whether to allow (the export) based on the three principles on the transfer of defense equipment," Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was quoted as saying on Friday.
This could become the first major shipment of defense equipment after Japan relaxed its arms embargo.
Raytheon Co. hopes to buy a sensor used to track targeted aircraft so Patriot Advanced Capability-2 interceptors can strike, according to the Defense Ministry. Japan's Air Self-Defense Force is equipped with PAC-2s, and the sensor is produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries under a licensing agreement from Raytheon.
Japan eased its rules on arms exports in early April in the first overhaul in nearly half a century of its embargo policy. It can now export defense equipment and related technology if it contributes to international cooperation and serves Japan's security interest.
The government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe eased the rules to allow exports of military products in a move aimed at letting Japan join international joint programs to develop weapons and to grow its defense industry.