Japan's First Major Defense Fair Underway

Japan's first major defense fair underway

A major defense equipment trade fair is currently underway in Japan for the first time. It covers a wide range of fields including land, sea, air to space and cyberspace.

About 60 Japanese companies and 90 overseas firms are taking part in the three-day event, which opened in Chiba City near Tokyo on Monday.

Exhibits include unmanned submersibles, armored vehicles and engines for unmanned aircraft.

The fair is one of the world's largest of its kind, and has been held every two years in Britain. It is being held in Japan after the government adopted new defense equipment export guidelines in 2014 aimed at deepening security ties with countries such as the United States.

The guidelines aim to bolster Japan's defense industry through joint development projects, and also allow for equipment exports that contribute to peace, international cooperation and national security.

Japan's Defense Ministry hopes to export domestically developed vessels and aircraft, but so far has only done so with missile parts and training aircraft that are no longer in use. Japan failed in a bid to become Australia's joint development partner for a new submarine.

A protest was held near the exhibition venue. Organizers say about 400 people took part, with banners insisting that "war begins here."