Listen to the news

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said today that Japan is facing the most serious security situation in the region since the end of World War II and vowed to increase the country's military power under a newly adopted security strategy as well as deal with the rapidly shrinking birth rate, reported the Associated Press.

Kishida's government passed key defense reforms in December to develop a counter-strike capability.

The new policy differs significantly from the previous post-war policy of the country, based entirely on the principle of self-defense.

In his speech at the opening of the parliamentary session of Japan's parliament, Kishida said active diplomacy should be a priority, but it needed "defensive power to back it up."

He added that Japan's new defense strategy is based on a realistic simulation, "as we face the most serious and complex security situation in the region since the end of World War II and the question of whether we can protect people's lives in the event of emergency situation".

"I make it clear that there will be no change in Japan's principles of renouncing nuclear weapons and relying solely on self-defense, as well as in our path as a peace-loving country," Kishida added.

The US and Japan have warned against the use of force or coercion anywhere in the world

The Japanese prime minister also drew attention to the critical importance of the birth rate.

"We have no time to waste on policies for children and child-rearing support," he said.

"We need to create an economic society where children come first and increase the birth rate," Kishida added.

Japan's prime minister pledged to increase financial support for families with children and said he would draw up a plan by June.

So far, efforts to encourage Japanese people to have more children have had limited impact despite the payment of benefits for pregnancy, childbirth and child care, the AP said.

According to critics, government subsidies are still mainly aimed at parents who already have children, instead of removing the difficulties that prevent young people from starting families, notes BTA.


Fumio Kishida