Japan is considering offering training aircraft to the Philippines, which would mark the first time it has exported used defense equipment overseas.
If realized, the shipment of aircraft to the Philippines is seen as a way of strengthening Japan’s ties with Southeast Asian nations through defense cooperation in light of China’s maritime advances.
The move comes in the wake of the Abe administration’s decision last year to scrap the long-established “Three Principles on Arms Exports” and replace it with the “Three Principles for the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology,” a rule that approves the export of arms under certain conditions.
The government is considering sending secondhand TC-90 twin-engine turboprop aircraft, which were used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force for training, to the Philippines. Tokyo has no idea how Manila will use the aircraft.
It is likely the TC-90s could be used for patrol missions over disputed waters in the South China Sea where Beijing has been constructing man-made islands.