At US request, Japanese to speed up defense plan

In reply to a US request that Japan bolster its defense capabilities, Japan's Defense Minister, Kichizo Hosoda, said Tuesday his agency would work toward a "steady and significant" buildup of the nation's defense system. The agency plans to speed up a five-year, $11 billion defense improvement program.

Foreign Minister Saburo Okita disclosed Monday that US Secretary of Defense Harold Brown had asked that the program be speeded up by one year.

Under the program, but not yet approved by the Cabinet, Japan will receive Hawkeye early-warning aircraft, F-15 Eagle fighters, Orion antisubmarine planes, and a new radar system.

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