(Bloomberg) -- Japan and the United Arab Emirates have agreed a deal on defense equipment and technology transfers, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late Thursday, in a move that enables joint research, development and production. 

While Tokyo has sealed about a dozen similar bilateral deals, including with the US, the UK and Australia, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering loosening the strict limits on Japanese arms exports more generally. 

The UAE is the world’s 11th largest arms importer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The agreement comes as Japan works on a next-generation fighter aircraft with the UK and Italy, which is likely to be marketed beyond the three countries. 

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