Kishida prioritizes arms buildup, reversing low birthrate

TOKYO (AP) — Prime Minister Fumio Kishida says Japan faces the severest security environment in the region since the end of World War II. He pledged Monday to push a military buildup under a newly adopted security strategy as well as tackle rapidly declining births. Kishida’s government in December adopted key security and defense reforms, including a counterstrike capability that breaks from the country’s exclusively self-defense-only postwar principle. Japan says the current deployment of missile interceptors is insufficient to defend it from rapid weapons advancement in China and North Korea. In his policy speech opening this year’s parliamentary session, Kishida said active diplomacy should be prioritized, but it requires “defense power to back it up.”