Japan govt announces new 10-member council for boosting defense capabilities

Jiji Press
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno speaks at a press conference in Tokyo on Thursday.

The government on Thursday announced the 10 members who will make up a new panel that will discuss how best to equip the Self-Defense Forces, the scale of its budget, financial resources and other matters with the aim of drastically strengthening the nation’s defense capabilities.

The expert council is scheduled to have its first meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Sept. 30, at which the members will exchange opinions on changes in the security environment and the need to strengthen defense capabilities.

Kenichiro Sasae, a former Japanese ambassador to the United States, is expected to be selected to chair the meeting.

Other members include Kyoto University Prof. Hiroshi Nakanishi, a specialist in international politics, and Toshikazu Yamaguchi, president of The Yomiuri Shimbun Holdings.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada will join the council representing the government.

“We sought out cxperts with deep insight in such fields as security, politics and diplomacy, science and technology, and economic and financial affairs,” Matsuno said at a press conference. “We look forward to hearing their opinions from a broad perspective.”

The council will also discuss such matters as ways to promote joint research and development between the Self-Defense Forces and the private sector, strengthen Japan’s industrial base for defense, and ensure fiscal soundness.

The plan is for the council to compile proposals in early December ahead of the government’s year-end revision of three documents related to defense, including the National Security Strategy, as well as the compilation of the budget.