TOKYO -- Japan, trying to enhance defense cooperation with Southeast Asia, wants to offer ASEAN nations second-hand transport vehicles from its Ground Self Defense Force.
The government plans to pass a bill during the current Diet session that would allow Japan to donate defense equipment to foreign partners.
Japan wants to talk with recipient countries -- such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia -- as early as this summer.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a 10-member bloc.
The vehicles would likely be trucks and dump trucks that can handle rough terrain.
The government is also considering whether to send SDF troops to the recipient countries so they can train their ASEAN counterparts on handling the vehicles.
Japan had effectively banned arms exports, but in 2014 greatly relaxed the restriction by adopting three principles on the transfer of defense equipment and technology.
The relaxation did not cover donations of equipment -- something the government now wants to do.
China has long provided free secondhand military vehicles to ASEAN members in an apparent effort to increase its influence.