China and North Korea remain in the spotlight in Japan's defense white paper this year, which outlines Japanese wariness of rising Chinese military power and concern about the North Korean nuclear arms program. The ''Defense of Japan 2005'' report, compiled by the Defense Agency and endorsed by the Cabinet on Tuesday, explains Japan's plan to introduce a missile defense shield by March 2007 and Japan's response to ''new threats'' such as terrorism and ballistic missiles... Touching on Japan-U. S. talks on the realignment of U. S. forces in Japan, the defense report reiterates the government position that the burden on base-hosting communities be eased, while maintaining U. S. deterrence for the security of Japan and the region...It also mentions China's rapid economic development and its growing diplomatic importance, such as Beijing's contribution as host of the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear programs, revealing Japan's serious concerns over China's rising status in the military, diplomatic and economic fields.It also mentions some concerns on piracy-
''I would like to reiterate that China is not a threat to Japan,'' Defense Agency Director General Yoshinori Ono said at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting.
''But there are issues that require attention...On North Korea, the report says ''North Korea's ultimate goal is believed to be to maintain the existing regime'' of leader Kim Jong Il. It also says the North may be resorting to brinkmanship by heightening tension while also aiming to acquire nuclear weapons.
''North Korea's development, deployment and proliferation of ballistic missiles, and the nuclear issue in general, is a main factor of instability for the Asian Pacific region as well as the international community, and its moves are of great concern,'' the report says.
Among new insertions in the white paper this year is a section on marine safety in the Malacca Strait, where three crewmen on a Japanese tugboat were kidnapped by pirates but later released unharmed.