Tokyo imposes tougher sanctions on North Korea; Draft of the Defense Policy Guidelines calls for increasing the strength of military personnel and equipment to face growing regional tensions
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  • The Japanese government decided to ban exports to North Korea completely and toughen restrictions on the flow of people. These are being seen as additional sanctions on Pyongyang in response to its nuclear test in May1. Japan had earlier banned all trade with North Korea. North Korea on its part has banned the entry of ships from a wide area off its eastern coast. The move had raised speculation of more missile launches by the North. Pyongyang also threatened to shoot down any Japanese planes that enter its airspace, accusing Tokyo of spying near one of its missile launch sites2.

    Meanwhile, a draft of Japan's new mid-term Defense Policy Guidelines has called for increasing the strength of military personnel and equipment in the face of growing regional tensions3. These include North Korea's missile launches and nuclear tests, China's rise to a major military power status, among other developments. The new Guidelines, valid till March 2015, are expected to be adopted by the government by the end of the year.

    In other developments, reports noted that the US Air Force estimates that Japan would have to spend as much as $2.3 billion for development of its own version of the premier Lockheed Martin fighter jet, F-22 Raptor. The estimate is more than twice the amount that was earlier cited by US officials4.

    Japan's Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone meanwhile denied reports that Tokyo had demarcated its territorial waters so as to avoid disputes over the movement of US warships carrying nuclear weapons5.