Japan plans to relax its ban on arms exports so it can jointly develop and produce such arms with other nations, the government's top spokesman said Tuesday.
Osamu Fujimura said in a statement relaxation of the country's longstanding weapons export ban would enable Japan to provide equipment for humanitarian purposes and keep up with the current global environment on weapons production, Kyodo News reported.
The statement, however, noted the government would uphold the principle of Japan being a pacifist nation and avoid international conflicts.
Fujimura's statement was issued after the Security Council of Japan, chaired by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, decided to relax the rules, Kyodo reported.
Fujimura told reporters the government would be "cautious" when dealing with cases that do not fall under its current exceptions.
Under those exceptions, Japan cannot sell weapons to communist states, countries subject to U.N. embargoes or countries involved in international conflicts.
Under the new rules, Japan can participate in joint efforts with friendly nations such as the United States, the report said. Currently, the United States and Europe conduct joint development or production of high-tech weapons such as fighters to cut costs and improve quality.