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House of Representatives Speaker Yohei Kono on Wednesday blasted the Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) over its suggestion that the government should lift its ban on arms exports.

“We can’t lightly tolerate proposals that call for exporting weapons,” Kono said at a lecture in Tokyo, referring to the stance of Japan’s largest business lobby.

Federation officials on Tuesday cited concerns that the domestic defense industry will languish amid the continuing contraction of the nation’s defense budget.

This proposal will be sent to the government and ruling parties, the officials added.

Nippon Keidanren’s proposal states that “while respecting the concept (of the export ban), it is necessary to re-examine arms export management in consideration of the national interests, instead of a blanket ban.”

On Wednesday, Kono said, “If the notion just involves the business community, then we need only to urge business leaders to do some soul-searching.

“But if (the review idea) was made in conjunction with elements within political circles, it is a very grave matter.”

In line with the so-called Three Principles on Arms Exports policy guideline, Japan has refrained from exporting arms.

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