Chugoku Kayaku Corp., Japan’s sole TNT maker, which suspended production after two explosions last year, has been importing the powder from South Korea since February for use in shells and missiles for the Self-Defense Forces, it was learned April 9.

The Weapons and Materials Division of the Defense Agency said the import “cannot be helped” due to the accidents, although the importation of such explosives for SDF weapons is an unusual case. Some SDF officers expressed concern in terms of national security, pointing out that Chugoku Kayaku is now the only domestic company producing TNT for the forces’ use.

According to the Defense Agency and other sources, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry ordered Chugoku Kayaku Corp., which is based in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture, to stop production after the explosions in April and December last year. Due to the stoppage, several domestic shell makers have failed to deliver shells worth about 19 billion yen to the SDF that should have been handed over by the end of March.

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