International

Japan PM vows to step up defence amid threats

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, center, speaks in front of troops of the Japan Self-Defense Forces during a review at the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Camp Asaka in Tokyo, Japan, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. | Photo Credit: AP
AP TOKYO 27 November 2021 22:38 IST
Updated: 27 November 2021 22:39 IST

Reality is severer than ever, says Kishida

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, at his first troop review on Saturday, renewed his pledge to consider “all options”, including acquiring enemy base strike capability, and vowed to create a stronger Self-Defence Force to protect the country amid growing threats from China and North Korea.

Mr. Kishida said the security situation around Japan was rapidly changing and that “the reality is severer than ever”, with North Korea continuing to test-fire ballistic missiles while advancing its capability, and China pursuing a military buildup and increasingly assertive activity in the region.

“I will consider all options, including possessing so-called enemy base strike capability, to pursue strengthening of defence power that is necessary,” Mr. Kishida said in an address to hundreds of Ground Self-Defence Force members in olive-coloured helmets and uniforms. Mr. Kishida, who took office in October, served as top commander for the first time at Saturday’s Self-Defence Force troop review held at the main Army base camp Asaka, north of Tokyo. About 800 troops gathered for the inspection, according to the Defence Ministry.

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‘Unprecedented speed’

“The security environment surrounding Japan has been rapidly changing at an unprecedented speed. Things that used to happen only in science-fiction novels are today’s reality,” Mr. Kishida said. He said his Government would lead “calm and realistic” discussions to determine what is needed to protect people’s lives and gain their understanding.

The possibility of possessing so-called enemy base strike capability has been a divisive issue because opponents say it violates Japan’s war-renouncing Constitution.

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