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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 February 15 - 21  > JCP Hatayama: US defense industry will benefit from Abe-Trump ties
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2017 February 15 - 21 [POLITICS]

JCP Hatayama: US defense industry will benefit from Abe-Trump ties

February 21, 2017
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Hatayama Kazuya on February 20 at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting brought to light the increase in Japan’s purchase of weapons under coercive sales tactics used by the U.S. government since the second Abe government was inaugurated in 2013.

The U.S. government uses its foreign military sales (FMS) program to sell its weapons systems and military equipment to other countries. Although the program is a government-to-government contract, it enables the U.S. government to unilaterally determine prices, delivery times, and other conditions. The Japanese government utilizes this program in its procurement of military equipment for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, including F35 fighter jets and Ospreys.

At the Lower House Committee meeting, in response to Hatayama, a defense official of the Acquisition, Technologies and Logistics Agency (ATLA) who is in charge of procurement activities, said, “Among defense procurement, the percentage of overseas products, especially products from the United States has increased since FY 2013.”

Inoue Kazunori, the chief of the ATLA Department of Procurement Management, presented data regarding the government spending on procurement under the FMS. The data indicates that the amount of tax revenues used to buy U.S. weapons under the FMS went up from 111.7 billion yen, accounting for 48% of the total value of imports, in FY 2013 to 447.3 billion yen (73%) and 485.8 billion yen (75%) in FY 2015 and in FY 2016 respectively. In FY 2017 ending March 2018, Japan will spend 359.6 billion yen for the import of U.S.-made weapons systems and equipment.

Hatayama pointed out that following the U.S. government’s policy change to implement cuts in the defense budget, America’s defense companies are shifting their focus to selling their products to other countries, leading to an upward trend in U.S. military sales to Japan. He said, “It is unacceptable for Japan with its war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution to increase the profits of U.S. ‘merchants of death’.”

The JCP lawmaker noted that Prime Minister Abe at a House of Councilors plenary meeting on February 15 said that the use of the FMS program will “eventually contribute to the U.S. economy and job market.” He said that the U.S. government will probably intensify pressure on Japan to buy more arms and equipment.

In response, Finance Minister Aso Taro justified Japan’s procurement based on the FMS by citing China’s military expansion policy and changes in the security environment surrounding Japan.

Past related article:
> Washington’s weapons sales to Tokyo jumps under Abe regime [April 29, 2016]
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