Government decides to build 'missile defense' system

The Koizumi Cabinet on December 19 decided to adopt a "missile defense" system that would involve Japan in the U.S. preemptive attack strategy.

The government also approved the basic concept for a review of Japan's defense posture, with the view of replacing the 1995 "National Defense Program Outline" with a new one by the end of 2004.

The cabinet decision emphasized that the new system is for "exclusively defensive" purposes and mentioned nothing about Japan's full-fledged participation in U.S. strategy.

Although the current "Five-year Defense Buildup Program" for modernizing the nation's defense will not expire before 2005, the Koizumi Cabinet decided to end the present mid-term program by the end of 2004, one year ahead of the expiration by taking into account its great size.

The cabinet decision also cites "new threats" from weapons of mass destruction and proliferation of ballistic missiles as a reason for Japan's participation in missile defense and calls for a far-reaching review of Japan's defense posture, in particular the present defense concept and equipment so that Japan can devote itself to activities for international peace and stability.

In order to be able to globally dispatch the SDF, the new policy calls for SDF functions and organizations to be improved while reducing some SDF equipment so far established as its mainstay to deal with a possible "full-scale invasion of Japan." (end)

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