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Japan signs arms deal with France to broaden military role

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TOKYO (AP): Japan and France have signed an arms transfer agreement, paving the way for developing drones and other unmanned equipment together as Japan seeks to play a greater military role internationally.

In the talks on diplomacy and national security, the two countries' foreign and defence ministers reached an agreement aimed at exchanges of defence equipment, services and technology and start talks on specific projects.

The ministers signed the agreement at a joint news conference following the talks.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is preparing to make legal changes to accommodate plans to bolster Japan's defence role, allowing it to defend a foreign country under attack amid China's growing military presence in the region.

Japan and France also agreed to step up their broader military cooperation and anti-terrorism effort.

Japan has signed similar arms equipment and technology transfer agreements with the US, Britain and Australia.

Japanese officials have said that Japan is seeking to start discussing a possible joint research and development in unmanned systems such as drones.

Defence Minister Gen Nakatani and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida represented Japan for talks with their French counterparts Jean-Yves Le Drian and Laurent Fabius.

Japan last year revised its defence guidelines to bolster its military role and also eased its self-imposed ban on arms equipment and technology transfer.

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Japan  Arms  Deal  France  Drones  Military  
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