Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Abe Orders Japan to Re-Evaluate Defense Cuts ; Military Outlays May Rise for First Time in a Decade after 5-Year Plan's Review

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Abe Orders Japan to Re-Evaluate Defense Cuts ; Military Outlays May Rise for First Time in a Decade after 5-Year Plan's Review

Article excerpt

The prime minister directed the government to replace the nation's five-year military spending plan and review guidelines adopted in 2010 that called for gradual reductions in defense spending.

The new conservative government of Japan has announced a review of national military strategy that analysts said was aimed at offsetting China's growing military power and that may increase defense spending for the first time in a decade.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered his government Monday to replace the nation's five-year military spending plan and to review defense guidelines adopted in 2010 by the left-leaning Democratic Party, which his party defeated in elections last month. Those guidelines called for gradual reductions in defense spending and in the size of the Japanese military, particularly the number of tanks and infantry members.

Mr. Abe had promised during the election campaign to strengthen the military to defend Japanese control of islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by China.

Mr. Abe did not release details of his intent on the military revisions, but news reports said the replacement plan would probably reverse the Democrats' cuts, starting with a Yen 120 billion, or $1.4 billion, increase in the military budget in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins in April. That would be the first increase in Japanese military spending since 2002, as the nation has tightened its belt during a long economic decline. …

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