giovedì 28 novembre 2013

Japan aims to expand defense force to keep China, N Korea in check


Japan sees growing threats from China.
 
Japan has traditionally focused on ensuring the quality of its defense forces, but will now seek more tangible, quantitative increases in personnel and equipment to counter the threats posed by China and North Korea.
On Monday, a government panel on national security and military capabilities began full discussions on new national defense guidelines, which will be finalized by year-end.
 
The existing document, drawn up in 2010, ended a policy of installing defense capabilities across the nation and instead placed an emphasis on mobility to counter the Chinese Navy, North Korea's ballistic missiles, and terrorism threats.
 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided in January to draft new defense guidelines; and defense-related expenditures are expected to grow for the second straight year in fiscal 2014.
 
The Defense Ministry has identified five key areas for future Self-Defense Forces deployments: securing the seas and airspace around Japan, dealing with attacks on remote islands, defending against ballistic missile attacks, building cyberspace and space defense capabilities, and relief efforts following major disasters. The ministry says its requests for next fiscal year's budget include new early-warning aircraft, drones, the creation of amphibious units, and repairing Aegis ships that are part of the nation's missile defense. It is also considering having the SDF deploy the MV-22 Osprey transport aircraft.
 
The 2010 guidelines set the size of the Ground Self-Defense Force at 154,000. The ministry has proposed raising the number to 159,000, according to the head of the security and defense panel.
 
The ministry is also eyeing capabilities to attack missile bases in North Korea. But that plan has met with resistance within the ruling coalition, and both the Foreign Ministry and the US have expressed concerns that such a move could provoke China and South Korea.

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