Japan PM urges stronger defense amid N Korea worries -The Asian Age

Japan's prime minister on Monday called for a boost to the country's defenses in the face of North Korean threats, warning that Tokyo needs to be able to protect itself.   The call is a common refrain from nationalist leader Shinzo Abe, who has long advocated a stiffening of Japan's military posture, despite its officially pacifist constitution. In a speech to senior officers of the Self-Defense Forces Japan's name for the military Abe said No one else will protect you if you don't have the mindset of protecting yourself.

We have to take all appropriate measures against (incidents such as) North Korea's missile launch over Japan, added the premier, who said he had asked his defense minister to draw up a blueprint for Japan's medium-term defense strategy. Abe, who moved quickly after the election of Donald Trump to keep the mercurial US president close, said that strengthening the Japan-US alliance is vital to ensure regional stability.

We have to deter North Korea's repeated provocative acts, he said, noting recent joint drills with the United States in the Sea of Japan and defense cooperation with like-minded countries including Australia. Abe's comments come as the US pushes for the United Nations Security Council to vote on harsher sanctions on North Korea. Diplomats said that a new draft resolution circulated recently is slightly less tough than the original but includes a progressive oil embargo on Pyongyang.

-AFP, Tokyo