Japanese Prime Minister promises to increase military capacity

Japanese Prime Minister promises to increase military capacity


Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday pledged to strengthen Japan’s naval and military capabilities, warning nations must prepare to face attackers.

Kishida also condemned Russia’s war in Ukraine and denounced North Korea’s recent blitz of missile tests, one of which flew over Japan for the first time since 2017, prompting a rare evacuation alert.

“We must prepare for an era in which players will emerge who flout rules and use violence or threats to destroy the peace and security of other nations,” Kishida said when addressing Japan’s international naval review.

The leader’s remarks come as Tokyo drafts security plans that could see the country’s defense spending doubling within five years. That would mean a sea change in Japan, where the pacifist constitution limits its military capacity.

“We will accelerate realistic discussions about what is required to defend our people by keeping all options on the table,” Kishida said.

“Improvement (of Japan’s naval capability) cannot wait, including building new naval vessels, strengthening our missile defense capability and improving working conditions and compensation for our (military) personnel,” he said.

He didn’t name China, but said that “the national security environment around our nation is becoming tougher, including the East China Sea and the South China Sea,” where Beijing has taken assertive positions in territorial disputes with countries like Japan.

Kishida added that Japan will ensure transparency on its military spending.

“Japan will continue on our path as a pacifist country, as we have done since the end of[World War II],” he said.

The fleet review gathered ships from Japan and 12 other countries – including Australia, India and the United States – in Sagami Bay south of Tokyo.

South Korea also attended for the first time in seven years as Tokyo and Seoul try to mend strained relations.

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