Defense firms from US, Europe and Asia have flocked to the MAST Asia 2015 exhibition in Yokohama hoping Japan to become the next big buyer of weapons in the world.
Coincidentally, the Japanese cabinet today cleared a bill to remove restrictions on the geographic deployment of Japanese troops. The bill, when it becomes law is expected to fuel a huge demand for weapons and logistics equipment by the Japanese armed forces. Japan last year removed a self-imposed ban on the export of defense equipment and collaborations with foreign defense companies.
The MAST Asia exhibition which began on May 13 has attracted defense companies, government officials and military delegations from around the world. Satoshi Morimoto, a former minister of defense, who delivered the keynote address emphasized that the security of the sea lanes through which 90 percent of Japan's trade moves are "the cornerstone" of the nation's naval strategies and stressing that Japan "has to counter any threat to maritime security."
Japan is considered to have one of the most advanced naval capabilities in the world. Japanese firms such as Mitsubishi and NEC have been trying to elbow their way into the global arms export business as well.
In recent times, Japanese firms have bid for an Australian submarine tender and been shortlisted in an Indian project to supply amphibious support aircraft.