Reports: Japan plans to increase the size of the Ground Self-Defense Force by 13,000 members; Japan and China remain at loggerheads over a row involving a Chinese fishing boat and Japan Coast Guard vessels;
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  • Reports noted that Japan’s Defense Ministry is considering an increase in the size of the Ground Self-Defense Force by 13,000 members. According to Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Force sources, this is to be undertaken in order to improve its ability to deal with the fluid security situation in East Asia, international terrorism and disasters.1

    On the regional front, Japan and China remained at loggerheads over a row sparked by recent collisions involving a Chinese fishing boat and Japan Coast Guard vessels off the disputed Senkaku Islands.2 In further developments, Beijing effectively rejected Japan's call for high-level talks to address rising bilateral tensions in the wake of a ship collision earlier this month near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. "Unless the Japanese side corrects mistakes and releases the Chinese captain unconditionally, it is unavoidable that bilateral relations will deteriorate further," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement.3 On the other hand, President Obama and Southeast Asian leaders sent China a firm message over the territorial disputes. They called for freedom of navigation in seas that China claims as its own. Meanwhile, Obama pledged to play a strong role in regional affairs.4

    Meanwhile Prime Minister Kan made Tokyo’s pitch for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. He said that the non- nuclear country which has suffered the devastation of atomic bombings deserves a seat on the council in the 21st century. In his speech to the general debate session of the U.N. General Assembly, Kan expressed Japan's resolve to play a more responsible role for the peace and security of the international community.5