TOKYO - Japan and Britain are to jointly develop missile technology for fighter jets, while Tokyo may also start exporting Japanese-made parts for US surface-to-air missiles, a report said on Thursday.
The plan, which comes months after Japan lifted a self-imposed ban on weapons exports, was likely to be approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet at a meeting of the National Security Council on Thursday, the Mainichi Shimbun reported, without citing sources.
The joint research with Britain was linked to a European missile project called Meteor, while the parts exports would be destined for Washington's Patriot Advanced Capability-2 (PAC-2) missile defence system, the report said.
If approved, the US exports would be the first since Japan in April approved a new policy that replaces its 1967 blanket ban on shipping arms overseas, the Mainichi said.
Under the new rules, weapon sales are still banned to conflict-plagued countries or nations that could undermine international peace and security, and they must contribute to international peace and boost pacifist Japan's security.
Responding to questions about the Mainichi report, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government's top spokesman said, "I am aware of the report but I don't know the specifics."