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Gist of proposed outline of new National Defense Program Guidelines

  • November 21, 2018
  • , Sankei , p. 5
  • JMH Translation

The following is the gist of the proposed outline of the new National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG):


Security environment


There is a marked tendency of further strengthening of military power and increasing military activities, such as North Korea’s development of nuclear arms and missiles and China’s maritime advances, in Japan’s vicinity. The gravity and uncertainty of this situation is accelerating at a rate unforeseen at the time the current NDPG was drafted.


Basic policy


Further strengthening of relations with the U.S. has become more important than ever. This is premised on Japan making its own efforts to reinforce its defense capability. Japan will strategically promote multilateral and multi-tiered defense cooperation based on its vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”




It is necessary to reinforce defense capability at unprecedented speed in order to respond to increasingly rapid changes in the security environment. It is essential to use budget allocations and manpower effectively in light of the acceleration of population decline, aging, and drop in birth rate in Japan and its fiscal situation. Priority in resource acquisition and allocation shall be given to enhancing capabilities in the new areas, including space monitoring and response to cyberattacks and electronic warfare, in order to reinforce defense capability at an early date.


Self-Defense Forces (SDF) composition


Expansion of recruitment of SDF officers from broader social strata, raising the retirement age, and engagement of female SDF officers and reserve personnel will be undertaken. The manpower base will be strengthened through automation, labor saving, improvement of the working environment, and other measures. Priority will be given to investments in “game changers” in advanced technology that may revolutionize existing defense conventions. Integration of operations across the domains of the three SDF services will be implemented.

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