The MHI designed and produced Type 10 Main Battle Tank. Its relatively light 44-48 tonne weight eases transportation. It uses less fuel and one would expect that it can be produced and marketed at a lower price than competing, much heavier, Western tanks (like the M1 Abrams and Leopard 2) It can be seen as primarily defensive when destroying other tanks.
I thought I should write a few broad thoughts about Japan and weapon selling.
If Japan has not won the Australian future submarine competition
- and last minute phonecalls between Prime Ministers Abe and Turnbull have not restored Japan to
Then Japan's evolution to being a country with a normal defense force and a normal defensive weapons exports sector offers other opportunities:
The rising threat from China appears to be increasing the interest of Southeast Asian (SEA) countries in re-equipping their defense forses with more modern weapons
- Chinese military power in the region is rising more quickly than any US pivot.
- There is also concern (certainly in Australia) as to whether the US pivot can be sustained.
= there is a future possibility of US isolationism, if Trump becomes President
= a partial US withdrawal from Japan/Okinawa may occur for military reasons, to put US forces
out of range of Chinese fighter bombers and conventional missile strikes.
- in terms of market competition South Korea and the US are the major Western competitors to
Japan in the supply of weapons to SEA countries
- of hostile countries Russia and China are also export competitors
- as current political and legal-constitutional sensitivities diminish Japanese arms sellers and
politicians will feel less inhibited about selling weapons
- Japanese weapons may currently have many components licenced from the US, which may limited
the ability of Japan to export these weapons. Increased Japanese development of components
should reduce this limitation.
- China's rise, nuclear North Korea, and a more unpredictable Russia probably justify an increase in
Japanese GDP devoted to Defense. The current 1% of Japanese GDP is too low for a normal
- A higher percentage of Japanese GDP allocated to Defense will fund a larger domestic market for
Japanese weapons. This can flow on to more competitive pricing and economies of scale for
weapons production for export.
This "Defense" section of the MHI website is one indication that Japan may be able to export many weapons types in future.