Japan has announced the loosening of its voluntary prohibition on arms exports to allow more joint development and production of weapons with other countries.

This step cuts procurement costs and energises the domestic defence industry by plugging joint development and production of arms like next-generation fighter jets, with the US and Europe, according to a Nikkei newspaper report.

Japan believes that these kinds of joint development programmes cut the purchasing cost of major equipment such as jets, the Nikkei report added.

Excluding the joint development of a missile defence system with the US and for special cases, Japan currently bans almost all weapons exports.

The country would, however, continue to prohibit arms exports to countries that are state sponsors of terrorism, violate human rights or lack sufficient controls over arms sales.