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Tokyo draws up overhaul of arms-export prohibition

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has drawn up plans to overhaul the pacifist country's self-imposed ban on arms exports, an official said Thursday, in a move that could anger China.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has delivered the blueprint to lawmakers in his party and coalition partner New Komeito, according to an LDP official, with the premier looking for a green light from cabinet by the end of the month.

The relaxed rules could allow Tokyo to supply weaponry to nations that sit along important sea lanes to help them fight piracy and also help resource-poor Japan, which depends on mineral imports.

Japanese arms could potentially be shipped to Indonesia as well as nations around the South China Sea — through which fossil fuels pass — such as the Philippines, for example, which has a territorial dispute with Beijing.

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