Tokyo, Dec 13 (ANI): Japan is expected to release new military guidelines to reduce its heavy armoured and artillery forces against Russia in favour of creating more mobile units that could respond to China's growing presence near its southernmost islands.
The step comes as the United States is making new calls for Japan to increase its military role in Eastern Asia in response to recent provocations by North Korea and China's more assertive stance in the region.
The New York Times quoted Japanese media reports as saying that the new defence strategy that is likely to be released this week would urge Japan military forces' greater integration with the United States military,
According to the reports, the new guidelines also call for acquiring new submarines and fighter jets, and creating ground units that can be moved quickly by air in order to defend the southern islands, including disputed islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by China and Taiwan.
Details of the realignment, which was delayed a year by the change of government in September 2009, have been leaking out since large joint military drills this month between Japan and the United States that included the American aircraft carrier George Washington, the paper said.
Japan's new Democratic Party government has been reportedly trying to strengthen its ties with Washington over a diplomatic clash with China three months back, and fears about North Korea's nuclear program.
The US is also taking positive move towards Japan, its largest and most important Asian ally, to direct Japan toward a more active role in the region, the paper added. (ANI)