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Japan’s latest departure from post-war pacifist ideals is the sale of fighter jets.

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Japan’s cabinet has approved the export of new fighter jets created in cooperation with the UK and Italy, marking a dramatic departure from the country’s long-standing pacifist principles. In light of the escalating tensions in the region, Japan wants to strengthen its defenses, therefore this decision is crucial.

If there are no active hostilities, the loosened arms export restrictions will allow Japan to sell these cutting-edge fighter jets to countries with which it has defense agreements. Cabinet permission is required for every sale, highlighting the cautious approach to arms exports.

The Tempest project, which is developing extremely advanced combat jets, started in December 2022. These aircraft, which will be deployed by 2035 and feature cutting-edge sensor technology and artificial intelligence, will be Japan’s first defense equipment collaboration outside of its long-standing alliance with the United States.

A visit by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to the United States in April is anticipated to highlight Japan’s dedication to its alliance with Washington and its readiness to participate in more extensive defense cooperation.

Prime Minister Kishida underlined the critical need to protect the country’s security at all costs, acknowledging that exporting warplanes is necessary to maintain Japan’s credibility in upcoming international military projects.



In spite of these developments, Japan’s Defense Minister, Minoru Kihara, reiterated the country’s commitment to strict decision-making procedures for arms exports and Japan’s devotion to the fundamental tenets of pacifism.

Japan’s post-World War II constitution, which was drafted while the US was occupying the country, forbids the use of force to settle international issues and restricts the military’s usage to self-defense. However, subsequent changes have progressively loosened export prohibitions on weapons, reflecting Tokyo’s changing security stance in a dangerous geopolitical environment.

This most recent event highlights Japan’s strategic realignment, striking a balance between its long-standing pacifist commitment and the necessity to bolster its defense capabilities in the face of growing regional threats, especially those originating from China and North Korea.

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