The government’s decision Friday to allow the sale of a fighter aircraft Tokyo is co-developing with Rome and London marks another significant shift in Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented policy — possibly even one toward more expansive changes as the country continues to shed some of the postwar constraints on its military and defense policies.

After months of negotiations, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, agreed to revise Japan’s strict defense export guidelines to enable the transfer of the future sixth-generation aircraft under certain conditions — a move that removes a potentially critical hurdle for the multinational Global Combat Aircraft Program (GCAP).

The multibillion-dollar project — aimed at developing and operating the stealthy fighter jet by 2035 — marks Japan's first collaboration with countries other than the United States to meet a major defense requirement.