Japanese companies debut at international defense fair

Kyodo

Twelve companies became the first from Japan to participate in an international defense exhibition Monday by exhibiting their wares at the five-day Eurosatory defense fair in Paris.

Their participation is expected to help Japan cash in on the easing in April of its long-standing ban on arms exports as hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks to revive a stagnating economy.

Exhibits at the Japanese pavilion in the civilian section of the fair, held every two years, include a pontoon layer vehicle, a weather observation radar system, a night-vision lens, life-saving equipment and a portable mine detector. Also on display is a target drone for air-to-air warfare.

“The participation in the fair is significant for Japanese firms that can learn about a civilian market they had ignored while refraining from taking part in arms fairs,” said President Makoto Asari of Crisis Intelligence, which has urged other Japanese firms to exhibit products.

The sponsor of the Eurosatory exhibition reportedly called for Japanese companies to participate in light of growing interest in rescue and reconstruction technologies after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked northeastern Japan.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian addressed the opening ceremony of the biennial exhibition, which specialized in weapons before including civilian products in the 2000s.

Parliamentary Senior Vice Minister of Defense Ryota Takeda is visiting the exhibition.