The Japanese government will make a formal decision at a National Security Council meeting Wednesday to participate in the international race to win an Australian order for the construction of new submarines, sources said Thursday.
The move comes after Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews, during telephone talks with his Japanese counterpart, Gen Nakatani, the previous day, called on Japan to bid for the joint submarine project, the sources said.
The Australian government has expressed strong interest in the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Soryu-class submarines. It plans to pick Japan, France or Germany as the partner nation by the end of the year.
“Japan is highly likely to be selected, considering its technological edge,” a Japanese government source said.
At the NSC meeting, the government will check submarine technologies that will be disclosed to Canberra in advance, a move that is required for a country to be Australia’s partner.
If Japan wins its bid, the project will mark the country’s first full-blown export of military technology since Tokyo adopted new principles on overseas transfers of defense equipment and technologies in April last year.