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The recent nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, along with the ongoing financial crises in Southeast and East Asia, may destabilize Asia-Pacific security, the annual white paper on defense warns.

The report, submitted to Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting by Defense Agency chief Fumio Kyuma, urges Japan to upgrade its security framework with the United States toward the 21st century and to step up defense exchanges with China and Russia to help stabilize the ever-volatile Asia-Pacific security environment.

This year’s white paper focuses on measures concerning the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and includes an entire chapter detailing such issues as the bilateral defense cooperation guidelines updated last fall and the legislative measures to support them that are before the Diet for debate.

As for the pending study of emergency laws to allow the Self-Defense Forces to deal with a military threat against Japan, the white paper says the Defense Agency is not considering martial law or military conscription as options.

The nuclear tests by India and Pakistan in May “cause worry that they will have serious effects not only on the security of South Asia but also on efforts for nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” the report says. India and Pakistan have refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The financial crises that have swept through Asia since last summer have slowed Thai and Indonesian military modernization efforts, the report says. At the same time, the slump is having “various effects on domestic affairs in the region’s countries, as seen in the massive riots in Indonesia (in May),” it notes. But many other Asia-Pacific economies have taken advantage of their rapid economic growth of recent years to expand and modernize their forces, the report says, reiterating that the region still contains “opaque and uncertain elements” — including the nuclear equation, continuing tension over the Korean Peninsula and territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands.

With Kim Jong Il heading North Korea’s ruling party, there has not yet been any change in the basic policy of the Stalinist state, the report says, calling for a careful monitoring of personnel reshuffles scheduled in July. Such key posts as Pyongyang’s head of state and minister of defense remain vacant, it says. With its alleged involvement in the development of nuclear arms and study of long-range ballistic missiles, Pyongyang continues to be a serious destabilizing factor for all of East Asia, the report says.

It stresses the need to keep an eye on North Korea’s missile program and on the progress of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization based on the 1994 U.S.-North Korean Framework. Because of North Korea’s extremely reclusive regime, however, it is difficult to guess where the country is headed, the white paper says.

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