• Short Summary

    In Japan, land at the foot of Mt. Fuji turned into a battleground last weekend?

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    In Japan, land at the foot of Mt. Fuji turned into a battleground last weekend as the army demonstrated its ability to defend the country. The exercise -- involving just one percent of Japan's troops -- was held on Saturday (30 September), two days after Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda announced that Japanese armed forces had to be prepared for a surprise attack. Mr. Fukuda made the statement in the Diet -- the Japanese Parliament. He was replying to opposition charges that a Government study of military measures to repel a surprise attack would lead to the creation of wartime legislation.

    SYNOPSIS: More than ten thousand civilians joined newsmen, soldiers and foreign military attaches to watch the exercise, which involved fifteen hundred soldiers, two hundred tanks and many armoured vehicles.

    Japan has been embroiled in a bitter controversy over the role of its armed forces since the country's top military officer was forced to resign in July. General Hiroomi Kurisu said that frontline officers might have to act on their own in the event of a surprise attack, without waiting for orders from the Prime Minister. His remarks angered his civilian seniors, who saw them as a possible defiance of the law that states only the Prime Minister, with Parliamentary consent, can order troop movements.

    Following the General's resignation, Mr. Fukuda instructed the Japanese Defence Agency to speed up a review of the laws which were enacted after Japan's defeat in World War Two. This army exercise is to be followed in mid-October by a naval exercise -- the biggest war games to be held by Japan's navy since the end of the Second World War. Japanese military sources have said the games will last about ten days and will involve one-hundred-and fifty ships, more than twenty-five thousand sailors and one hundred and seventy-five aircraft.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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