Japan's ruling parties on Tuesday held a first meeting to review the nation's strict regulations on weapon exports as calls grow within the senior coalition partner for the country to play a bigger role in the global security arena at a time major Western countries are giving military aid to Ukraine.

The Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hopes to lift a virtual arms export ban by easing Japan's guidelines on the overseas transfer of defense equipment and technology drawn up under its pacifist Constitution.

But the LDP's junior coalition partner Komeito has been reluctant to change the guidelines for fear that allowing weapons sales to other countries would exacerbate armed conflicts and run counter to Japan's postwar pacifism.