Japan announced it will send Patriot air defense missiles to the United States after changing its arms export rules.

"This holds significant meaning in terms of further strengthening the Japan-US alliance. It will contribute not only to Japan's security but also the peace and stability of the wider Indo-Pacific region," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said following the announcement.

The United States welcomed the move, saying it would replenish US inventories.

"This decision will contribute to the security of Japan and to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region by ensuring that US forces, in close cooperation with the Japan Self-Defense Forces, will continue to maintain a credible deterrence and response capability," White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

The move could free up the US to send its own stockpile to Ukraine, as western powers have been running out of ammunition to supply Ukraine in its defense against Russia.

The Patriot system is among the most advanced weapons supplied by the US to Ukraine.

Under previous rules, Japan could only export components of arms and was prohibited from delivering completed products. The revised guidelines now allow Tokyo to export completed products to countries where patent holders are based.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said that the missiles could only be sent to the US, and would require Japan's approval to be sent to a third country. Japan still bans the export of weapons to countries at war.

This could mean that Japan-made Patriot missiles may replenish the US' stockpile, while Washington sends US-made ones to Ukraine. (QNA)
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