TOKYO – Picture this: As tensions escalate between China and the Philippines over a bitterly contested shoal in the South China Sea, Manila pushes back against Chinese coast guard ships in the area by sending its own vessels fitted with not only surveillance radar equipment supplied by Japan, but also Japanese-made anti-ship missiles.
The latter element in the hypothetical scenario – the made-in-Japan missiles – is not possible currently because of Japan’s self-imposed laws that bar the export of lethal weapons. But these restraints are being loosened in line with a paradigm shift in policy thinking on the purpose of foreign aid.
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