UPI in English  |   UPI Arabic  |   UPI en Español  |   UPIU

Japan, U.S. begin mutual defense talks

Published By United Press International
TOKYO, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Japanese and U.S. officials began discussions Thursday in Tokyo on updating the two countries' military relationship.

The talks come as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for giving Japan greater military freedom, Time magazine reported. The constitution adopted after World War II allows Japan to use military force only if its own territory is attacked or to assist allies who have suffered a direct attack.

Japan is involved in a dispute with China over a group of uninhabited islands, called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. Japan has recently responded to Chinese observation flights over the group with F-15 fighter jets, although no shots were fired.

The dispute, coupled with China's growing military capacity, has made expanding Japan's military role more popular with the Japanese public.

Jeffrey Hornung of the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu said he expects the Abe government to adopt a more expansive view of the allowable use of military force.

"Collective self defense is a no-brainer. It's not an offensive capability. It's not projecting power. It's just what to do if the U.S. comes under attack," Hornung said.

The talks are expected to be conducted through 2013.
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.

Photo Gallery
1 of 1
Tour de France concludes in Paris
Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa