Japan is locked in a bitter territorial dispute with China over East China Sea islets that both countries claim. The isles, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are located near rich fishing grounds and potentially large gas reserves.
Also, Tokyo’s ties with Seoul frayed badly after President Lee Myung-bak last month became the first South Korean leader to set foot on a set of islands claimed by both countries and located about midway between them, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in Korea.
Japan’s Coast Guard plans to procure seven new patrol ships next year to strengthen its surveillance activities, while the Foreign Ministry is more than doubling a budget for promoting globally Japan’s stance on the disputed islets to 1 billion yen, covering costs such as holding symposiums, producing pamphlets and making Internet videos.
In a news conference last month, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda vowed to protect all of Japan’s territories and waters, but also said the government would deal with territorial disputes calmly.
In the defense ministry budget request, about 21 billion yen is set aside to boost its capacity to defend against cyber attacks. The government and the private sector have come under growing hacking threats in recent years.
The ministry plans to set up a team of about 100 officials and soldiers, tentatively named the “cyber space defense squad”, to collect information on cyber attacks and conduct research on cyber security. ($1 = 78.9700 Japanese yen)
(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Paul Tait and Michael Watson)