Japan is known to have strict guidelines for weapon system exports, limiting exports to partner countries having developed the weapon system to be exported jointly with Japan.
As reported by Nikkei, LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) is pushing to change the guidelines to allow for the export of next-generation fighter jets being developed under GCAP (Global Combat Aircraft Programme) with the U.K. and Italy to Southeast Asian countries. Efforts of LDP are mainly related to deterring China in the region.
It can be said that LDP’s concerns about China have some basis for Saudi Arabia's interest in joining the GCAP. The Saudi Kingdom has recently ended its long rivalry with Iran with the help of China.
However, LDP has faced objections from Komeito, the coalition partner. Komeito members are worried about Japanese weapon systems being used in wars by pointing out the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
A working group with members of two parties met to discuss what changes could be made to the Japanese defence export guidelines.