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First it was Japanese TV sets. Then Japanese cars. Next will it be tanks and missiles? Munitions makers in Japan are conducting a vigorous campaign to be allowed to export arms. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which accounts for one-third of the country's still-modest defense production, is very proud of its variable profile Type 74 tank. In missiles, Japan's strength is in small and medium missiles which take advantage of miniaturization of electronic circuitry.

China would be one ready and willing customer for such Japanese exports.

But Japan's Ministry of Trade and International Industry remains cool to the idea. The country built its reputation as a maker of consumer and high technology goods for peaceful purposes. That reputation should be maintained, officials argue.m

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