JAPAN - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to put together Japan's first-ever national security strategy by the end of the year.
The strategy, which will cover roughly five to 10 years, is modelled on a similar document put out by each new United States administration to tell Americans and the world what policies it intends to take.
The Abe administration's proposed national security strategy will cover not only defence, but also other fields such as the economy, energy, resources and information technology. A panel of experts is to be set up early next month to compile recommendations for the Cabinet.
In tandem with the formulation of a national security strategy, the administration also plans to set up a US-style national security council headed by the Prime Minister and comprising key Cabinet ministers.
Such a vehicle will put the formulation and coordination of foreign and security policies firmly in the hands of the administration rather than respective ministries.
Japan's need for a national security strategy comes against the backdrop of a worsening security environment, in particular North Korea's nuclear and missile threats and China's increasing naval activities in the region.
The move is believed to be also aimed in part at giving momentum to Mr Abe's goal of adding collective self-defence to the role of the Self-Defence Force (SDF), Japan's de facto military.
Traditionally, Japanese governments have interpreted the country's war-renouncing Constitution as only allowing Japan to defend itself if attacked.