Image copyright AFP Image caption Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, waves to supporters on his return from an overseas trip
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for extra military funding as he visited troops deployed in Darwin, Australia.
Mr Abe has already received the formal backing of the US government for Japanese-built submarines to be deployed to the Indo-Pacific, along with US Navy warships.
The threat of China’s influence on the region has spurred Japan to strengthen its military.
However, the move has drawn opposition from some in Japan, with concerns the Japanese military has become too big.
“Japan still depends on the US for security, but our defence is becoming stronger every day,” Mr Abe said.
He did not announce a budget for the new projects.
However, he has previously expressed hope that the Japanese navy would not need to be under US command for a long time.
He did not give an exact timeline for the new projects.
Maintaining a balance of power
The new initiatives are aimed at maintaining a balance of power in the region, and would enable Japan to maintain security alongside the US, the BBC’s Michael Bristow reports from Canberra.
This has been the aim of US and Japanese government since World War II.
Japan is also participating in the US-led exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), which is taking place in Hawaii over the weekend.
“We believe that joint exercises such as RIMPAC will help ensure a stable Indo-Pacific environment that is conducive to our mutual interest,” Mr Abe said.
The Japanese navy is playing a leading role in the war games, which involve hundreds of US and allies warships and aircrafts from around the world.
Topics: defence-and-national-security, defence-forces, defence-industry, korea-democratic-peoples-republic-of, japan, asia