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Japan launches funding scheme for defence exports

Japan's new OSA scheme will provide funding for allied countries to procure defence equipment such as radars, transport aircraft, and surveillance ships. Pictured above is Japan's third Hibiki-class ocean surveillance ship on its commissioning in March 2021. (Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force)

Japan has said it will launch a new credit facility to support defence exports. The Official Security Assistance (OSA) scheme – the first of its kind in Japan – will be aligned with the country's national security interests, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in Tokyo said on 5 April.

The MOFA described the OSA as a “co-operation framework” to provide developing countries with defence equipment and supplies “for the benefit of armed forces and related organisations”.

“By enhancing [countries'] security and deterrence capabilities, the OSA aims to deepen our security co-operation with countries to create a desirable security environment for Japan, and to contribute to maintaining and strengthening international peace and security,” it added.

The MOFA said the OSA will not fund the export of lethal military equipment. Instead, the scheme is expected to support the sale of equipment, including radars, maritime surveillance systems, and satellite communications. Patrol boats, surveillance ships, transport aircraft, and sonars are also likely to be positioned for export under the scheme.

The MOFA added that funding through the initiative will aim to enhance a recipient's “security and deterrence capabilities” so they can “contribute to regional peace, stability, and security by themselves”. Defence activities to be supported through the funding will include monitoring and surveillance in territorial waters and airspace, counter-terrorism, and counter-piracy, said the MOFA.

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