Japan Is Weighing Raising Military Spending
TOKYO — Japan’s new conservative government announced a review of national military strategy on Monday 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 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 Japan’s military, particularly in the number of tanks and infantry members.
Mr. Abe had promised during the election campaign to strengthen the military to defend Japan’s 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 120 billion yen, 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 .
The reports said the new spending plan, proposed by members of Mr. Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party , would seek to increase the number of ground troops, strengthen air and sea defenses around the disputed islands, and buy new early-warning aircraft to guard against Chinese intrusions near the islands, as well as missile launchings by North Korea.
The reports said the plan could also include financing for a feasibility study on acquiring Osprey aircraft, American vertical-takeoff transport planes whose introduction last year to a Marine airfield on Okinawa set off protests. The Osprey can fly farther and faster than Japan’s current helicopters, allowing its troops to more easily reach the disputed islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Despite a decade of defense cuts, analysts said Japan last year had the world’s sixth-largest military budget, spending 4.65 trillion yen, or $53.3 billion, on defense. Japan has one of the largest and most advanced militaries in Asia, though it has kept a low profile to avoid stirring bitter memories of its early-20th-century empire building.
Mr. Abe’s efforts to raise Japan’s military profile in the region are intended not only to bolster his nation’s declining influence, but also to help an economically ailing ally , the United States, counter China’s rising military prowess .
weigh: 심사 숙고하다
be aimed at ~: ~를 목표로 하다
call for ~: ~을 요구하다, 필요로 하다
tighten one’s belt: 허리띠를 졸라매고 절약하다
economic decline: 경기 불황
governing party: 여당 (= ruling party)
early-warning aircraft: 조기경보기
launch: (미사일을) 발사하다, (캠페인을) 시작하다, (제품을) 출시하다
feasibility: 실현 가능성
vertical take-off: 수직 이륙
transport plane: 수송기
set off ~: ~을 일으키다
disputed: 분쟁의 대상이 된
keep[maintain] a low profile: 나서지 않고 몸을 사리다
stir: 불러일으키다, 섞어 휘젓다
ailing: 병든, 비실거리는
prowess: (전쟁터에서의) 용기, 역량
By MARTIN FACKLER
< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
Published: January 7, 2013
Source:The New York Times