The annual parade of Japan's self-defence forces took place on Sunday (30 October) at Camp Asaka near Tokyo.
The annual parade of Japan's self-defence forces took place on Sunday (30 October) at Camp Asaka near Tokyo. After the Second World War Japan's constitution was changed to renounce war and the use of force but provisions were made for the defence of its territory.
SYNOPSIS: Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda reviewed the parade by members of the land, air and sea forces, which have a total strength of about 260,000. It followed the forces' annual military exercise last month which involved mock attacks by tanks and armoured cars as well as the firing of ground to air missiles.
Sunday's ceremony included the playing of Japan's national anthem.
A year ago new policy guidelines for the self-defence forces rejected expansive in favour of an improvement of their quality. Following a tour of southeast Asia by Primer Fukuda earlier this year the United States expressed hopes that Japan would assume greater responsibility for the security of the western Pacific.
But Prime Minister Fukuda made it clear that Japan had no intention of expanding its role in the area. He said his country would not rearm itself on a major scale under any circumstances and had no intention of becoming a nuclear power.
Instead Japan has told heads of state that it will help to strengthen the poor nations of Asia economically in order to improve their own defences. President Ferdinand Macros of the Philippines said Japan could help Southeast Asian countries to fight the threat to insurgents by assuring them of long term guarantees for their economic plans.
The Japanese do intend to establish a more effective intelligence service in Southeast Asia. At home they are concentrating on improving electronics surveillance and warning systems to defend air space and sea lanes.