Japan adopts proactive defense policies

Updated: 2010-12-17 14:15
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TOKYO - Japan's Cabinet adopted Friday a new fiscal 2011-2015 midterm defense buildup program which eyes more proactive policies and "dynamic defense capability".

The new guidelines reflect a shift from the old basic defense concept, which is designed to maintain the minimum necessary basic defense capability for Japan to avoid becoming a destabilizing factor in the region.

The new concept, called "dynamic defense capability", aims to make Japan's Self-Defense Forces troops more ready, mobile and flexible to address security concerns.

The outline sees a reorganization of Japanese troops to cut down on personnel in Hokkaido Prefecture in the country's north and reduce the Cold War-era equipment and formation and instead boost security around southwest islands.

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The guidelines also stress Japan's need to strengthen its defense cooperation with those countries it shares "democratic values" such as South Korea, Australia and India, in addition to its key ally, the United States.

The outline also plays up China's military threat, saying China's rise and increasing naval activities in waters surrounding Japan a "matter of concern".

The midterm defense program budget will be cut to about 23.49 trillion yen ($283 billion), down by 750 billion yen ($8.93 billion) from the previous five-year budget.

Japan will boost the number of Maritime Self-Defense Force submarines from 16 to 22 and deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles across the country to counter possible ballistic missiles threat.

The defense outline will be reviewed in 10 years or when a major change in the security situation occurs, according to the guidelines.

Some lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan as well as the pacifist Social Democratic Party had already voiced concern that the new guidelines will increase the tension in the neighboring region of Japan.