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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.

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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.