Japan is slowly and inexorably unshackling its defense industries.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently agreed to ease defense equipment transfer rules to allow exports of next-generation fighter jets it is jointly developing with the United Kingdom and Italy. This follows other steps that allow Japanese companies to participate more fully in the global market for defense equipment.

It is the right decision. Japan must loosen restrictions that have undercut the ability of its companies to compete in this sector. There are limits, however, to how far liberalization should go. Participation in international defense projects ensures that Japan stays on the cutting edge of technology innovation, as well as remains a reliable and credible ally and security partner. Japan’s defense industries should never be contributing to the unrest and instability that unfettered sales can unleash, however.