Japan to map out new defense programs by end of 2013

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-1-8 9:08:11

The Japanese government decided Monday to suspend two current defense programs to pave the way to map out new programs by the end of 2013, local media reported late Monday.

The government will first come up with a temporary defense program in a recent cabinet meeting and map out the new programs by the end of this year, Japan's Kyodo News Agency reported.

The two programs, namely the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-Term Defense Program, were approved by the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan in December, 2010, aiming at strengthening Japan's defensive and vigilant capability in its southwestern waters.

The defense guidelines focused on Japan's long-term basic defense policy, while the mid-term program aimed at beefing up the country's Self-Defense Forces (SDF).

Meanwhile, Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also approved a plan in favor of drawing new defense programs.

Abe, who became Japan's prime minister on Dec. 26 last year, said in his political pledges that he will upgrade the SDF to a national army and lift the ban on Japan's use of collective defense right.

The National Defense Division of the ruling party agreed on Monday to increase defense expenditures by about 120 billion yen ( about 1.37 billion US dollars) in the next fiscal year from 4.71 trillion yen under the initial budget for fiscal 2012, Kyodo said.

The LDP and its key ally, the New Komeito Party, took 325 seats in the 480-seat lower house in general election held on Dec. 16 last year, suggesting the ruling party could pass its budget plans in the Diet although they were vetoed in the upper house.

The Japanese government also decided on Jan. 5 to draft an annual budget to increase the country's defense spending for first time in 11 years in fiscal 2013.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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