• Kyodo

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The Defense Ministry and the Japan Business Federation have agreed to step up cooperation in promoting defense equipment and technology exports.

Under the initiative with the federation, better known as Keidanren, the ministry will collaborate with trading houses and manufacturers to determine market demand so they can broaden business opportunities with foreign governments based on their strategic interests, ministry officials said.

The move comes as China advances military buildups, raises defense spending and increases assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

In a meeting Thursday with Keidanren officials, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said China intends to expand military capabilities through joint efforts by the civil and military sectors.

“It would be impossible (for Japan) to maintain and strengthen our defense capabilities without cooperation from Keidanren,” Kishi said.

Along with making full use of expertise and know-how of the government and the private sectors, the envisioned public-private arms sales partnership involves a plan to allow the defense industry to employ findings and technologies developed by government institutions, venture companies and other entities, according to the officials.

An internet portal site to be launched will contribute to a seamless flow of information between the public and private sectors, they said.

In August, Mitsubishi Electric Corp. struck a $100 million deal on advanced air surveillance radar with the Philippines, in Japan’s first export of a complete defense product since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government in 2014 eased a decades-old self-imposed ban on arms exports.

Keidanren is comprised of 1,444 major Japanese companies, 109 industry bodies and 47 local economic organizations across the country.

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