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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Abe's pick for defence minister may rile China............


BEIJING: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who was re-elected on Wednesday, is expected to appoint lawmaker Gen Nakatani as the new defence minister.
Sources said that the appointment, if confirmed, would enrage Beijing because he has been at the forefront of the movement to militarize Japan's pacifist constitution to counter threat from China. Nakatani is likely to replace the present defence minister Akinori Eto, who is facing charges on use of political funds. The rest of the Cabinet is unchanged.
Nakatani has served as defence minister in the past and advocates pre-emptive strike capability for Japan. China has strongly opposed the Japanese move to amend the pacifist constitution and give teeth to the country's Self Defense Force.
At the Japan parliament's lower house on Wednesday, Abe bowed to applause after the election results were announced. He expects to pass a law in 2015 that will enable the Self Defense Force to acquire new weapons and also allow it to come to the aid of an ally.
Japan's Emperor Akihito has voiced a different opinion. On his 81st birthday on Tuesday, he said, "I ardently hope that Japan will be able to go forward in the world as a stable, peaceful and sound nation, in mutual support not only with neighboring countries but with as many of the world's countries as possible."