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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Japan to reveal demand for record defense budget, China holds ‘routing’ drills in Sea of Japan

Aiming to develop a prototype drone fighter jet

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TOKYO, Japan – Japan is aiming to develop a prototype drone fighter jet in a technology strategy focusing on weapons communications and lasers, within the next two decades.> Big News Net

According to reports, the plan, expected to be announced in August by the Defense Ministry, will advocate the initial development of an unmanned surveillance aircraft within the next decade, followed by an unmanned fighter jet 10 years later.

Along with the strategy, the ministry is also expected to reveal its request for a massive budget to the tune of $51 billion (5.16 trillion yen) for the fiscal 2017.

The 2.3 percent rise over this year’s budget comes as the ministry looks to tighten defences as North Korea expands its ballistic missile technology.

However, Takashi Kawakami, a security expert at Japan's Takushoku University, claimed that the budget was still insufficient, and added, “The security environment surrounding Japan is severe, due to neighbouring North Korea and China. I personally think it's not enough.”

Meanwhile, the Sea of Japan is currently seeing China conducting what it touts as “confrontation drills,” as Beijing aims to create a navy capable of force projection greater distances away from its shores.

The state-owned People's Liberation Army Daily said that the drills were conducted in a “certain area of the Sea of Japan,” without revealing the exact location. 

The reports came after those of Beijing building a dock for its warships at a site being developed by Japan as a military base, which lies to the west of the disputed Senkaku, also called Diaoyu islands.

The People's Liberation Army Daily added, “Exercises far out at sea in international waters are commonly done by navies of the world, and this year, our navy has many times organised fleets to carry out exercises far out in the Western Pacific.”

They continued, “This deep-sea exercise is part of annual training arrangements, is not aimed at any specific country, region or target, and accords with international law and practice.”

The decision comes as Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told veteran Japanese politician Takeo Kawamura that China gives great importance to their relations with Japan.

He said that the ties should be promoted and adhered to on the basis of four political documents that take “history as a mirror and look toward the future.”

On Sunday, South Korea, China and Japan’s high-ranking diplomats are to convene in Tokyo to deliberate on whether a trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of the three countries should be conducted in August as planned.

The trilateral meeting was scheduled to be held on August 22, 23 and 24, but conflict and tensions between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands have been delaying final confirmations.

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