The government plans to hold a seminar in late September attended by officials from ASEAN countries to make a pitch for exports of Japanese-made defense equipment to those Asian nations, government sources said Sunday.

It will be the first gathering of Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to hold full-fledged discussions concerning such exports since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet decided in April to ease restrictions on arms exports.

During the seminar in Tokyo, the government plans to discuss how Japanese equipment and technology could help enhance the defense capabilities of ASEAN nations, as it seeks business opportunities to export Japanese defense equipment.

The government also believes Japan's security environment will improve if ASEAN countries increase their own deterrence capabilities in the face of China's growing maritime assertiveness. Some ASEAN countries are engaged in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

At the seminar with the main theme of "maritime security," Japanese officials will explain how Tokyo's new defense equipment export policy has replaced a nearly half-century embargo on arms exports, and how Japanese vessels and aircraft could boost the security of ASEAN countries.

The new rules enable Japanese defense equipment and technology to be exported if they serve the purpose of contributing to international cooperation and Tokyo's security interests.

Japan will have to conclude a defense equipment transfer accord with each nation before actually exporting arms to it. After the seminar, Japan plans to discuss signing such an agreement with countries interested in buying Japanese equipment.

Japan has already reached defense equipment transfer agreements with the United States, Britain and Australia.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.