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Japan's military, among world's strongest, looks to build

Added 12-06-21 12:11:02am EST - “Dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers fired explosives and machine guns in drills Monday on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, a main stronghold for a nation that is perhaps the world's least-known military powerhouse. Just across…” - News.yahoo.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From News.yahoo.com: “Japan's military, among world's strongest, looks to build”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

ENIWA, Japan (AP) — Dozens of tanks and hundreds of soldiers fired explosives and machine guns in drills Monday on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, a main stronghold for a nation that is perhaps the world's least-known military powerhouse.

Just across the sea from rival Russia, Japan opened up its humbly named Self Defense Force's firing exercises to the media in a display of public firepower that coincides with a recent escalation of Chinese and Russian military moves around Japanese territory.

The drills, which foreign journalists rarely have a chance to witness, will continue for nine days and include about 1,300 Ground Self Defense Force troops. On Monday, as hundreds of soldiers cheered from the sidelines and waved unit flags, lines of tanks shot at targets meant to represent enemy missiles or armored vehicles.

The exercises illuminate a fascinating, easy-to-miss point. Japan, despite an officially pacifist constitution written when memories of its World War II rampage were still fresh — and painful — boasts a military that puts all but a few nations to shame.

It’s not an easy sell. In a nation still reviled by many of its neighbors for its past military actions, and where domestic pacifism runs high, any military buildup is controversial.

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