TOKYO, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Japan's House of Councilors on Wednesday approved a bill to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Kyodo News agency reported.
The ATT, approved by the U.N. General Assembly on April 2, 2013, is the first international pact to regulate trade in conventional arms, like small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
It will come into force when ratified by 50 countries. So far, 31 states have already ratified the treaty, said the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.
The treaty would ban importing, exporting or brokering arms deals if there are risks that the weapons could be used for terrorism or genocide, or the trade would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution.
On April 1, the Japanese Cabinet officially approved new principles on arms exports, which allow Japan to export weapons under certain circumstances and pave the way for the country to acquire more advanced weapons and military technologies through joint development with its allies.
Critics question whether it is reasonable for Japan to sign off on the ATT and promote the export of defense equipment and technology at the same time.