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Japan to allow export of missile interceptors to third countries: Report

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The SM-3 interceptors have been designed to be launched from warships to destroy intermediate ballistic missiles. A Raytheon photo

TOKYO (BNS): Amending its long-standing policy of banning export of arms and weapons, Japan is likely to sell the Standard Missile-3 Block 2A system, an advanced version of the SM-3 series being developed with the US, to other countries.

The Japanese Government is set to allow exports of the new missile system to third countries and Europe is considered a likely destination, a news report in The Japan Times said quoting sources close to Japan-US relations.

US had urged Japan to consider exporting the new variant of the SM-3 missiles in October 2009.

The SM-3 interceptors, equipped with Aegis air defense systems, have been designed to be launched from warships to destroy intermediate ballistic missiles.

The United States recently notified Japan of its plans to begin shipping SM-3 Block 2A missiles in 2018 and asked Tokyo to start preparing soon to strike export deals with third countries, the news report said. The US wants Japan to respond by the end of this year, the report added.

Japan had banned export of arms to other countries in 1967. The US was excluded from the ban in 1983.

Japan and the US had inked a deal in 2005 to jointly develop a ballistic missile defence shield. The deal exempted US-bound exports of missile interceptors to be deployed by the two countries from the ban on Japan's arms exports policy.

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