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Japan to extend horizon of defense buildup plan to 10 years

The Ministry of Defense in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. (Mainichi Masahiro Ogawa)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan is set to extend the horizon of its defense buildup plan from five to 10 years to better prepare for military threats amid heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait, government sources said Tuesday.

    The Medium Term Defense Program will be renamed "Defense Program," while the National Defense Program Guidelines, another document pertaining to Japan's national security, will be renamed "National Defense Strategy" in line with the United States' naming convention, the sources said.

    The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito have decided to postpone finalizing operational guidelines for exporting equipment, including weapons, until next spring or later, according to the sources.

    The government plans to revise three documents -- the National Security Strategy, its guideline for long-term security and diplomacy, the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Medium Term Defense Program -- by the end of this year to better reflect the rapidly changing security environment.

    In April, the LDP called for renaming both the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Medium Term Defense Program, as well as changing the latter to a long-term perspective of 10 years.

    A report by a government panel of experts on Nov. 22 pointed out the "importance of 'visualizing' the details and scale of defense buildup measures over an extended period of time."

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