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Japan revises defense strategies, security policies in two-phased overhaul, Abe hails move as "historic"

English.news.cn   2013-12-11 21:43:04            

TOKYO, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Japanese government on Wednesday submitted a draft document detailing its medium-term defense strategy guidelines at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

Prime Minister and leader of the LDP Shinzo Abe said the documents marked a "historic move" for the government and would ensure better protection of the lives of the people of Japan through a new strategy referred to as "pacifism through international cooperation."

"I am convinced that the national security strategy and defense guidelines will become historic documents and that they will be the basis of Japan's future security policies," Abe told a press briefing after the meeting, which was comprised of diplomatic and security experts, as well as Cabinet members and LDP lawmakers.

Abe said his Cabinet has set about revising Japan's basic defense strategies and security policies and the new guidelines could be endorsed by the government as early as next Tuesday, following final policy adjustments to be made by the ruling coalition bloc.

The new guidelines are set to cover the next five years and include a budget with provisions made for five years from April 2014 to the tune of 240 billion U.S. dollars, which the finance ministry has yet to approve.

The government has also outlined and submitted a separate document that has a longer scope, called the National Defense Program Outline (NDPO) and this document lays out policies and strategies spanning the next decade.

The government's new guidelines call for the purchasing of unmanned surveillance drones, increasing the number of personnel manning the F-15 fighter squadron and an overhaul of the E-2C early-warning aircraft airborne squadron, currently based out of the Air Self-Defense (ASDF) Force's Naha Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

With reference to Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF), the government plans to install a dedicated amphibious force, capable of quick deployment to remote islands near Japan, with the troops being supported by ASDF aircraft capable of vertical or short take offs and landings, such as the Osprey already deployed in Japan's southernmost prefecture.

Military experts have also suggested that the Lockheed Martin F- 35 Lightning, already ordered by Japan's Ministry of Defense (MOD), could play an active role in such duties, as the fifth-generation, multi-role stealth fighter comes in three versions, with two of them capable of vertical and short take offs and landings.

The next-generation stealth fighter can be configured for air- to-air engagements, as well as air-to-ground and air-to-sea engagements and developments have been underway for the fighter to carry next generation weaponry, including the possibility of a solid state laser and a High Speed Strike Weapon (HSSW), which is a hypersonic missile, defense experts said.

The government said the new hardware, coupled with the bolstering and overhauling of its troops would boost the mobility of the SDF units and drastically reduce their response, mobilization and deployment time.

The national security strategy will become the foundational theory for all new defense and diplomacy policy making in the future, to be made by Abe's newly established U.S.-style National Security Council (NSC).

The experts and lawmakers convened at the LDP meeting Wednesday provisionally approved the new security strategy and long-term defense program and along with the medium-term defense program guidelines, will likely see them approved by Abe's Cabinet next Tuesday, officials said Wednesday.

At the defense and security meeting, the government also traversed the thorny issue of lifting its long-standing weapons export ban, with Shinichi Kitaoka, head of the government panel launched by Abe, stating that the ban should be lifted.

Kitaoka is a former Japanese ambassador to the United Nations and has, of late, served as a key adviser to Abe and is a proponent of reinterpreting Japan's war-renouncing, pacifist Constitution to lift the self-imposed ban on the right to exercise collective self-defense, and as the deputy chairman of Abe's Advisory Panel on Reconstruction of the Legal Basis for Security, also wishes to see the embargo on weapons exports lifted.

The monumental overhaul of Japan's strategic defense and diplomacy protocols comes at a time when Abe believes Japan needs to be better prepared to "counter threats" and better defend what it believes to be its territories, in disputed waters such as those in the East China Sea.

The new guidelines also reference provisions for responding to potential ballistic missile attacks and boosting Japan's capabilities to do so.

Japanese military sources confirmed Wednesday they will continue to augment the scope of the SDF's state-of-the-art missile defense system, which uses both land-based Patriot-missile batteries and sea-based Aegis naval destroyers, in unison with dozens of radars.

With the exception of the United States, Japan is the only country possessing both low-level and upper-tier defenses capable of intercepting ballistic threats beyond Earth's atmosphere, military officials have confirmed.

Related:

Japan plans to raise military spending to 240 bln US dollars

BEIJING, Dec. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants to raise his military spending budget by around 6 percent over the next five years, that’s according to Kyodo news agency.

Abe’s government is requesting a defense budget of more than 240 billion US dollars. The Japanese government says it’s in response to a number of growing security concerns, including nuclear development in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  Full story

Editor: Hou Qiang
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