Japan has said it will provide equipment to the militaries of “like-minded” nations, with Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Fiji among those designated as initial recipients. The plan, called official security assistance (OSA), will aim to improve defence capabilities and counter regional security threats, including China’s military buildup. Japan has earmarked JPY2bn ($15m) in its fiscal 2023 budget through to March next year to finance the OSA, which targets humanitarian aid, including disaster response, as well as maritime and aerial surveillance, and activities related to United Nations peacekeeping operations. It is expected to operate within Japan’s three principles on the transfer of defence equipment, which consist of¬†strict conditions for arms exports. The new framework was formed based on objectives laid out in Japan’s National Security Strategy, updated by the government in December 2022.¬†“Enhancing the deterrence capabilities of like-minded countries” was essential for maintaining international peace and stability, said the chief cabinet secretary.

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