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Japan aids armed forces of China's neighbors

(People's Daily Online)

16:23, August 28, 2012

Tracer bullets ricochet off their targets as the Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force Type 74 and Type 90 armoured tanks fire machine guns during a night annual training session at Higashifuji training field in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, August 21, 2012. Mt. Fuji is seen in the background.(Xinhua/Reuters)

Japan's Defense Ministry has begun providing technical assistance in "non-combat fields" such as landmine clearance and medical treatment to the armed forces of six countries surrounding China.

The official development assistance (ODA) handled by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs bans funding armed forces overseas, but the technical assistance program being carried out by the Japan Self-Defense Forces falls outside the ODA parameters, the Asahi Shimbun, one of the five national newspapers in Japan, reported on Aug. 26.

The paper cited several Japanese officials as saying that the six countries that are receiving technical assistance from Japan's Defense Ministry are Indonesia, Vietnam, East Timor, Cambodia, Mongolia, and Tonga. The program is aimed at deepening cooperation with countries surrounding China, according to the report.

The assistance program falls under a Japanese initiative to "help nations in the Asia-Pacific region build up their ability to defend themselves." Japan added a new goal of "stabilizing the security environment in the Asia-Pacific region" to its National Defense Program Guidelines in late 2010.

According to Asahi Shimbun, this is another overseas military program the Self-Defense Forces has participated in besides the United Nations peacekeeping operations. Although the technical assistance is “strictly non-combat,” it will likely enhance the fighting capacity of the Self-Defense Forces.

Read the Chinese version at: 日本向中国周边国家军队提供技术支援, Source: People's Daily

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