(From Canberra Times)
J APAN's new defence strategy, approved by Prime Minister Koizumi's Cabinet on December 10, has drawn mixed reactions regionally and domestically. It has angered China, while other neighbours including South Korea have expressed concern. More generally, some observers see the new security guidelines as a shift from Japan's post-war pacifism. While the changes are significant, however, they represent a continuation of what are only slow moves to a more normal Japanese security posture.
Japan's Cabinet adopted a new National Defense Program Outline for the next decade and a Mid-term Defense Program for 2005-2010. The NDPO changes give Japan's Self Defense Forces a greater global role.
Designed to achieve a more flexible defence capability …