Kishida pledges beefed up defense in speech to future SDF personnel

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio says the government will work to beef up defense and diplomatic capabilities to maintain peace.

Kishida made the pledge during a speech at a graduation ceremony at the National Defense Academy in Yokosuka, near Tokyo, on Saturday.

In his speech, Kishida called the past four years turbulent for the entire world. He cited the coronavirus pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started about two years ago. He said the invasion is an explicit challenge to the existing international order.

He also said military buildups, including nuclear and missile development, have been accelerating in areas surrounding Japan.
He noted growing attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force. He said Japan's security environment is the most complex and challenging since the end of the Second World War.

He said the government is aiming to boost its diplomatic and defense capabilities to maintain peace and deter security emergencies. He said the government will be united in its effort to achieve targets laid out in three documents on Japan's national security.

About 400 students graduated from the academy this fiscal year ending this month. Of those, 35 have declined to join the Self-Defense Forces. That's down 11 from the previous year.