The Defense Agency has decided to radically modify the structure of the Self-Defense Forces and their equipment to be prepared for recent changes in the global security environment and the rapid progress of information technology, agency officials said Friday.

The agency will set up a committee to discuss the matters, including revising the National Defense Program Outline, under agency head Gen Nakatani as early as September. The committee is expected to reach a conclusion by the end of the next fiscal year, the officials said.

Possible agenda items include modifying the structure of the SDF and updating its equipment to meet the need of diversifying SDF roles, as well as preparing computer systems to allow integrated operations among all SDF units.

Another discussion topic will be the promotion of changes to the organization of SDF units and equipment systems, which are currently geared to deal with a landing from the sea of enemy troops, to place greater emphasis on simultaneous attacks from the air and sea.

The last major revisions to the SDF were carried out in 1995, and there have been changes in the military environment since then, including revolutions in information and military technologies and the strengthening of Chinese national security and the promotion of missile defense plans and a comprehensive revision of military strategy by the United States, the officials said.

In the future, the committee is expected to discuss issues such as expanding the role of the SDF in the Asia-Pacific region in line with strengthening Japan-U.S. security ties, and a system to emphasize the defense of southern regions of Japan.

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