Kishida vows to steadily build up Japan's defense capabilities

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio has told members of the Self-Defense Forces that he will steadily build up Japan's defense capabilities in light of the increasingly severe security environment around Japan.

Kishida addressed about 800 personnel at a review ceremony at the SDF's Iruma Air Base in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Saturday.

Kishida said Japan currently faces the most severe and complex security environment since the end of World War Two. He cited a joint flight of Chinese and Russian bombers over waters near Japan earlier this year.

The prime minister pledged to secure the necessary budgets and drastically boost Japan's defense capabilities.

Kishida said the government intends to acquire standoff missiles so as to possess counterstrike capabilities.

He also mentioned the joint development of a new fighter jet by Japan, Britain and Italy. He expressed his hope that the three countries will develop a pre-eminent jet by sharing their technologies.

Kishida noted that SDF aircraft have evacuated Japanese nationals and others from Israel amid the ongoing fighting in the region.

He said SDF personnel have met the expectations and trust of the people. He added that this is the result of all the members working together as a team.

Kishida later inspected Air Self-Defense Force equipment, including C-2 transport aircraft.

C-2 transport planes are on standby in Jordan and Greece in case of a further evacuation of Japanese nationals and others from the Middle East.