SDF won’t join U.S. operations in South China Sea: Inada Japan Times
SDF won’t join U.S. operations in South China Sea: Inada
Defense Minister Tomomi Inada on Sunday ruled out the possibility of the Self-Defense Forces participating in U.S. military operations in the South China Sea.
At a meeting in Tokyo on Saturday, Inada and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis agreed to improve their forces’ engagement in the South China Sea.
“I told Secretary Mattis that Japan supports the U.S. military’s freedom of navigation operation in the sea,” Inada said on a TV program Sunday. “But the SDF will not be sent to the area.”
“Japan will play its role through defense cooperation and training,” she said, signaling Tokyo’s plan to help countries around the South China Sea improve their defensive capabilities. China is locked in disputes with Southeast Asian countries over its territorial claims in the area.
Inada added that Japan will consider not only increasing its defense budget, but also reinforcing the quality of its defensive capabilities.