New Japan security plan focuses on island dispute


TOKYO — Japan on Tuesday approved a plan to increase defense spending by 5 percent over the next five years to purchase its first surveillance drones, more jet fighters and naval destroyers in the face of China’s military expansion.

The revised five-year defense plan was adopted by the Cabinet along with a new national security strategy that reflects Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to raise the profile of Japan’s military and have the country participate more in international diplomacy and security.

Experts say the strategy and defense plan is in line with ongoing global power shifts, but Japan’s neighbors — and some Japanese citizens — worry the new strategies push the country away from its pacifist constitution adopted after World War II.

“Many people worry inside Japan and outside that maybe Abe hasn’t really learned the lesson from the wartime history of Japan and that there’s a danger that a greater role played by Japan actually means the rise of militarism in the long term,” said Koichi Nakano, an international politics professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.

Yousuke Isozaki, a ruling party lawmaker who is a special adviser to Abe on security affairs, described the new strategy as progress toward Japan becoming a more “normal” country. He said that while Japan should preserve the principle of pacifism enshrined in its constitution, the country has been too biased in that direction.


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