Correction JapanDefence story

CHIBA, Japan – In a story June 14 about Japanese military equipment sales, The Associated Press omitted the name of a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries official quoted in the story. It was Shoji Sato.A corrected version of the story is below:Japan seeks to expand arms deals with Southeast AsiaA Japanese defence official says Japan is seeking to increase its sales of military equipment to Southeast Asian nations amid growing tensions with China and North KoreaBy MARI YAMAGUCHIAssociated PressA defence official said Monday that Japan is seeking to increase its sales of military equipment to Southeast Asian nations amid growing tensions with China and North Korea.The move is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push to bolster Japan’s military role and its sales of defence equipment, especially in Southeast Asia, where China has expanded its own arms sales.Hideaki Watanabe, head of the Defence Ministry’s Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency, said Japan will host a meeting Thursday with defence officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to discuss the sharing of equipment and technology.He spoke Monday at an international arms exhibit near Tokyo that was attended by hundreds of defence officials and industry leaders from around the world.Watanabe said there have been aggressive attempts by nations in recent years to change the status quo, in an apparent reference to China’s building of artificial islands in disputed areas of the South China Sea.“It is essential to maintain the open and stable sea under the rule of law,” he said. “Ensuring safety of navigation and flight contributes to the peace and prosperity of Japan and international society. Japan’s research and development of high-quality defence equipment contributes to the defence of Japan and elsewhere.”Japan’s defence industry at home is worth about 1.8 trillion yen ($16 billion) annually, a fraction of the country’s 52 trillion yen ($470 billion) auto industry.Japan had restricted arms exports under its post-World War II war-renouncing constitution, limiting joint research and development to the U.S. under a bilateral security pact. Since an easing of the rules in 2014, Japan now has joint research deals with Britain, Australia and France.In order to scale up the defence industry, Japan’s government has bolstered research funding to more than 10 billion yen ($90 million) this year.Japan has been promoting the transfer of defence equipment to Southeast Asian countries to help their maritime security capabilities amid China’s growing presence in the South China Sea, but deals have been limited to the sale of TC-90 surveillance aircraft to the Philippines.China already exports mostly low-cost military equipment to many Southeast Asian countries.The arms exhibit, sponsored by the Japanese defence, foreign and industry ministries, included panel discussions focused on missile defence. North Korea has conducted several missile tests this year.U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin and Japanese contractors Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries were among dozens of exhibitors from around the world who had booths at this year’s Mast Asia exhibit, just east of Tokyo.Japanese manufacturers are still cautious about the prospects of military sales.Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a maker of Aegis destroyers and fighter jets, is not expecting booming business right away, as Japan’s defence equipment sales are more focused on disaster prevention and international peace.“We want visitors to see our comprehensive and advanced technology first,” said Mitsubishi Vice-President Shoji Sato. “We are happy to provide our technology and equipment wherever they can be used for international peace.”While Japan’s defence role is still a sensitive issue for other Asian countries that still have bitter memories of Japanese wartime aggression, a greater contribution by the country is welcome as the region now faces common challenges such as North Korea, said South Korean defence expert Yoon Sukjoon, a retired navy captain who was at the exhibit.“We have a threat, a real threat from North Korea,” Yoon said, citing the North’s recent missile capabilities and nuclear development. “Japan is our neighbour. As long as we have common interests, common security concepts, there is no specific reason why we should reject military co-operation in terms of military equipment and sharing of the information of that.”___Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at her work at Visitors look at the booth of BrahMos, the India-Russia joint venture, during ” MAST Asia”, Japan’s international arms exhibit, supported by Japanese government, in Chiba, near Tokyo, Monday, June 12, 2017. The three-day exhibit, second since Japan’s 2014 easing of arms export rules, began Monday near Tokyo. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara) by The Associated Press Posted Jun 12, 2017 3:01 am MDT Last Updated Jun 13, 2017 at 11:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Correction: Japan-Defence story