Japan to Fund Defence Projects in First Departure From Aid Rules

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TOKYO (Reuters), - Japan announced Wednesday that it will offer financial assistance to friendly countries to strengthen their defenses. This marks Tokyo's first clear departure from the rules prohibiting international aid being used for military purposes.

Hirokazu Mattsuno, Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated that Japan's Overseas Security Assistance will operate separately from ODA, which for decades has funded infrastructure projects such as roads and dams.

Matsuno said that the aid will not be used for lethal weapons that recipients could use in conflict with other countries, in accordance to the three principles that govern exports of arms.

Japan announced in December that it would double its defense spending in five years to counter China's increasing military might in Asia. This decision to expand international aid for military-related projects was made in response to Japan's December announcement.

According to Yomiuri newspaper, the Philippines will be among the first to receive security aid. The Philippines wants radars to track Chinese activity in the South China Sea contested South China Sea.