• Kyodo

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The government plans to allow Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to export a component used in an earlier version of Patriot surface-to-air missiles to a U.S. defense equipment company in accordance with its new arms export control rules stipulated earlier this year, a government source said Tuesday.

If finalized by Cabinet ministers at a meeting of the National Security Council to be held soon, it would mark the first such decision by the policy-making panel since the country eased its arms export rules under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April.

Mitsubishi Heavy has been producing the missile component under a licensing agreement with U.S. defense manufacturer Raytheon Co., which is said to be planning to transfer the component to Qatar.

The component is used to stabilize Patriot Advanced Capability-2 interceptors after they are launched.

Once the National Security Council approves the proposed arms export, Mitsubishi Heavy is expected to apply for the export with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Japan eased its rules on arms exports in April in the first major change of its arms export embargo policy. Defense equipment and related technology can be exported if doing so is determined to contribute to international peace and serve Japan’s security interests.

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