(Defenseworld) : A new 10-year defense plan approved by the Japanese Cabinet on Friday describes China's burgeoning military power as a "matter of concern" for other countries in East Asia, and calls for more mobile and flexible Self-Defense Forces to respond to the new threats facing Japan.
The National Defense Program Guidelines document calls the military emergence of China as a "matter of concern both for the region and the international community".
The Kan Cabinet also approved the Mid-Term Defense Program, a projection of defense spending over the next five years, on December 17. In that period, total defense spending is estimated at 23.49 trillion yen ($276 billion). Average annual defense spending is expected to increase by about 0.1 percent. In comparison, the 2005-2009 Mid-Term Defense Program saw cuts in annual defense spending.
The new strategy emphasizes "dynamic defense capabilities" that stress mobility and rapid response by the Self-Defense Forces. It also calls for strengthening of the defense of the Nansei island chain that lies off the south of Kyushu and extends to close to Taiwan. Both are clear reflections of concerns about China's emerging military presence in the region. The disputed Senkaku Islands, which were the focus of a spat with China in September, are in the Nansei region.