Japan keeps up its defences amid pandemic

Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force taking part in a live-firing exercise at the Higashi-Fuji firing range in Gotemba, Shizuoka prefecture, yesterday. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Japan's defence forces have continued to conduct mi
PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force taking part in a live-firing exercise at the Higashi-Fuji firing range in Gotemba, Shizuoka prefecture, yesterday. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Japan's defence forces have continued to conduct military exercises.

Worried by increased Chinese military activity in the East China Sea and North Korea's nuclear weapons development, Japan had approved a record draft defence budget totalling 5.31 trillion yen (S$70.3 billion) for this fiscal year. It is also seeking to strengthen its defence capabilities in outer space and cyberspace.

Earlier this month, China sent ships to chase away fishing vessels in Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu Islands, in the East China Sea, The Japan Times reported.

Last month, China also sent aircraft carrier Liaoning and its strike group on its first round-trip mission through the Miyako Strait, between the islands of Okinawa and Miyako, and past Taiwan. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 24, 2020, with the headline 'Japan keeps up its defences amid pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe