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  1. Japan Main Page
  2. Japan Expands Its Empire
  3. Japan Tests Its Military Might
  4. Economic Recovery Is Followed by Deep Recession
  5. Succession of Prime Ministers Meet Only Fleeting Popularity
  6. Scandals Taint Leadership
  7. Tsunami Devastates Japan and Causes Nuclear Disaster
  8. Tension Increases with Asian Neighbors Over Islands
  9. Noda Wins Party Leadership Vote, but Faces Strong Opposition
  10. Shinzo Abe Becomes Prime Minister Again in Late 2012
  11. Ongoing Fukushima Leak Declared an Emergency
  12. Japan Lifts Decades Old Arms Ban
  13. China, South Korea, and Japan Hold First Foreign Minister Talks in Three Years
  14. Military Legislation Sparks Protests
Japan Lifts Decades Old Arms Ban

In April 2014, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet approved a measure that lifted Japan's ban on weapons exports. The self-imposed ban had been in place since 1967. Under the new policy, arms sales were still banned to countries in conflict and nations that could undermine international peace. In fact, weapons sales must contribute to international peace and Japan's security.

Supporters of the new policy believed that it will help increase Japan's role on an international stage. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga met with reporters after the measure was passed. About the new policy, he said, "We have made the procedure for transfer of defense equipment more transparent. That will contribute to peace and international cooperation from the standpoint of proactive pacifism."

Prime Minister Abe called for an election in December 2014, after Japan's economy slid further into recession. The economy's most recent decline was largely blamed on a consumption tax increase in April 2014. In December, Abe was re-elected as prime minister, keeping a two-thirds majority with coalition partner, the Komeito party. After his re-election, Abe announced that the consumption tax would not be raised again until 2017.

Next: China, South Korea, and Japan Hold First Foreign Minister Talks in Three Years
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