Japan's Abe calls for 'democratic security diamond' across Asia
By James Hardy
Newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said Japan needs to be part of a 'democratic security diamond' that can contain Chinese aggression - one of a number of potentially far-reaching proposals in an op-ed published by the Project Syndicate agency.
Abe, who was elected in a landslide victory for his Liberal Democratic Party in mid-December 2012, said that he envisaged "a strategy whereby Australia, India, Japan, and the US state of Hawaii form a diamond to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific. I am prepared to invest, to the greatest possible extent, Japan's capabilities in this security diamond."
On 9 January the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported that the government would increase the defence budget by JPY100 billion (USD1.13 billion) for the Fiscal Year 2013, making it the first year-on-year rise in 11 years.
Officials told the Yomiuri that the extra funds would be used for fuel and repair costs for the Japan Air Self-Defence Force's Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye and Boeing E-767 airborne early warning and control aircraft; research into long-range radar technology; and preparations for the introduction of the US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey.194 of 518 words
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