Japanese defense minister: Tokyo to ease weapons export ban

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is set to ease a decades-old weapons export ban, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday, paving the way for the country's small defense industry to participate in multinational projects.
Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa had told Reuters this month that he expected a government decision on a possible easing of the self-imposed ban before long.
Japan in 1967 drew up its "three principles" on arms exports, banning sales to countries with communist governments, that are involved in international conflicts, or that are subject to United Nations sanctions.
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