In response to a secret U.S. request, the government of Japan has decided to sell propellers from Maritime Self-Defense Force rescue planes to the U.S. forces so they can be used in C-27 transport planes to be given to the Afghan Air Force, sources said.
The U.S. government had asked the government for assistance in reconstruction in Afghanistan, they said, and Japan hopes the decision will deepen the Japan-U.S. relationship, the sources said.
Prior to its decision, the government of Japan consulted with the Defense Ministry and the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry to determine if selling the propellers would infringe on Japan’s three rules on arms exports, which effectively ban sales of defense equipment and technology.
Following the consultations, the government concluded the propellers are multipurpose item that are not subject to the embargo.
A total of 20 used propellers are currently stored at the MSDF’s Iwakuni Air Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture and at its Air Supply Depot in Chiba Prefecture.They are expected to be handed over to the U.S. forces as early as March, according to the sources.
The secret request was initially received in August last year from Michael Schiffer, deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia,, the sources said.
- Daily Yomiuri Online