/

New defense plans due by summer

JIJI

The government will compile new National Defense Program Guidelines by summer to replace the current ones adopted in 2010, sources said Monday.

The implementation of the current guidelines, which set forth the nation’s basic defense and security policies, will be frozen at a Cabinet meeting before the government fully starts work to compile a state budget for fiscal 2013, the sources said.

The medium-term defense program for fiscal 2011-2015 will also be frozen, including hardware procurement plans, based on the current guidelines.

The Liberal Democratic Party-led government will work out the new guidelines before this summer’s Upper House poll, they said.

The Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces need a combined 18,000 new recruits, a Defense Ministry executive said.

The National Defense Program Guidelines spell out how the nation will improve its defense capabilities over the coming 10 years. The current version was adopted by the Democratic Party of Japan-led government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The current guidelines feature the concept of dynamic defense, designed to give SDF units more operational flexibility and mobility. While introducing the concept, the guidelines called for slashing GSDF ranks by 1,000 from 155,000.

The LDP, which returned to power after more than three years of rule by the DPJ, is seeking to strengthen national defense capabilities as China has increased its maritime activities near the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. The islets are also claimed by Beijing.

Soon after his inauguration last month, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera to revise the guidelines.

At an LDP meeting on national defense, Defense Ministry officials said the ministry will seek a defense budget of ¥4.8 trillion for fiscal 2013, up ¥100 billion from the previous year.

The planned sum, including outlays related to U.S. military base realignments in Okinawa, is larger than the ¥4.65 trillion that the ministry requested for fiscal 2013 last September, before the change of government.