The Japanese Prime Minister, Masayoshi Ohira, said on Tuesday (13 May) that his government was determined to increase the country's defence capability.
GV: Japanese self defence forces watching an exercise
GV: Helicopters carrying troops arriving
GV: Transport helicopter landing and vehicle being driven out
GV: Transporting helicopter landing vehicle (2 shots)
SV: Self defence personnel watching exercise
GV: Field gun firing at hillside targets
GV: Shells hittings hillside targets and defence forces looking on (3 shots)
GV: Dummy tank moving and being hit by two shells and forces watching. (2 shots)
CU: Tank in action and firing at target (2 shots)
GV: Flame thrower in action
GV: Tanks moving in line. (2 shots)
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Background: The Japanese Prime Minister, Masayoshi Ohira, said on Tuesday (13 May) that his government was determined to increase the country's defence capability. Reporting to the Diet, Japan's Parliament, on his visit to Washington this month, Mr Ohira said he told President Carter, Japan would `earnestly and independently' cope with its defence built-up. The Americans have urged Japan to increase its military budget to meet what they see as the Soviet threat in Asia.
SYNOPSIS: Japan's constitution renounces war, allowing only for the defence of the country's territory. But the armed forces which held a military exercise on Tuesday (13 May) at Gotemba near Mount Fuji, now have the sixth largest defence budget in the world. This year the equivalent of 9.3 billion U.S. dollars was allocated to the defence forces, which have a strength of two hundred and thirty six thousand.
But the budget is less than one percent of Japan's Gross National Product, compared to the figure of six percent in the United States, five percent in Great Britain and 3.6 percent in France.
Four year ago the Japanese Government decided to hold spending below one percent to allay fears or a revival of militarism. Now, under pressure from President Carter, Premier Ohira says he will consider increased defence spending in next year's budget. The Americans have asked the Japanese to acquire the ability to lay mines in three international straits which would impede a Soviet naval advance into the southwest Pacific.
Japan's defence agency is also giving priority to the construction of 10 warships including a mesally-carrying escort vessel and submarine. Anti -submarine patrol planes and early warning aircraft are other items high on the list.
Mr Ohira has justified the new emphasis on defence by saying that Japan needs not only to defend itself, but also to assure the defence of the whole free world.