TOKYO (UPDATED) -- Japan and the Philippines are set to begin discussing exporting Japanese military hardware to the Philippines, possibly anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and radar technology, amid increasingly assertive Chinese activity in regional seas.
An announcement on the talks is expected later Thursday when Philippine President Benigno Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet, focusing on Beijing's reclamation work in the South China Sea.
Japanese media reports say that P-3C anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft and radar technology are possible sale items. A sale of the P-3C, originally designed by Lockeed Martin Corp. and produced in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries from 1978 to 1997, would be Japan's first full-fledged military export since Tokyo lifted its restrictions on military exports last year.
Foreign Ministry officials have said the countries are seeking to transfer military hardware for maritime security.
Under Abe's push to expand Japan's international military role, Japan has signed defense cooperation agreements with a number of countries to complement its cornerstone alliance with the US while seeking to expand its military exports and joint development.
Japan is already in discussions about exporting US-2 amphibious aircraft to India, and has joined a final selection process to compete against France and Germany to be part of Australia's next submarine fleet.
Earlier Thursday, Japan and the Philippines signed a deal confirming the supply of 10 patrol vessels to the Philippine coast guard so it can step up patrols around South China Sea islands Manila claims and which China contests.
Manila has protested over China's reclamation work on some of the disputed islands and its actions against Filipino air patrols and fishermen. Tokyo, meanwhile, is at odds with China over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.(AP)