10/08/2021, 10.10
JAPAN
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Kishida announces greater spending against Covid-19 and for defense

In his first speech to Parliament, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he wants to increase public spending to counter the effects of the pandemic. According to the Asahi Shimbun, his party would like to increase the defense budget to 2% of GDP.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan's new prime minister Fumio Kishida said today that he will do his best to bring the country out of the Covid-19 crisis. The premier added that he will also work to protect Japan's territory and people in an increasingly difficult geopolitical environment. 

"I'm determined to devote body-and-soul to overcome this national crisis with the people, carve out a new era and pass on to the next generation a country whose citizens are rich at heart," Kishida said in his first policy speech to parliament.. His first test will be to lead the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) into elections for the House of Representatives on Oct. 31.

The former foreign minister went on to say that the government will adopt a stimulus package to overcome the consequences of the pandemic. He did not specify the scope of the funding, but had previously said he would invest 30 trillion yen (232 billion euros). 

Kishida went on to talk about the need to protect Japanese territory from interference from China and other countries in the region. The premier aims to strengthen the coast guard and missile defense capability. "While working with countries with which we share universal values, we say what needs to be said to China and demand firmly that it behave responsibly. We also maintain dialogue and continue cooperating with them in tackling common issues," he said.

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper writes  that the LoC is planning to increase the defense budget from one to two percent of gross domestic product. The information will be contained in the party program that will be presented before the elections at the end of the month. According to the Japanese newspaper, the manifesto will be unveiled next week after Liberal Democratic leaders approve it.

China claims nearly all the waters of the South China Sea, where it has established military outposts on artificial islands. China and Japan also contend over a group of small islands (Diaoyu for the Chinese, Senkaku for the Japanese) in the East China Sea.

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