Abe eyes crafting national security strategy by year-end

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to put together by the end of the year a "national security strategy" that embodies Japan's basic policies on foreign and security issues, government officials said Saturday.

He will entrust a panel of experts by mid-September with compiling recommendations on the strategy that will cover not only defense but also energy, maritime, food, culture and space issues, the officials said.

The formulation of the strategy would be timed to coincide with the planned establishment of an institution similar to the U.S. National Security Council following enactment of related legislation around late November.

It would also precede a new long-term national defense program, which the Abe administration has decided to create by the year-end.

Members of the panel may include former Ambassador to Britain Shin Ebihara and former Vice Defense Minister Kimito Nakae, the officials said, adding Abe will likely attend its first meeting to present his basic views on the strategy.

Abe confirmed the schedule for the creation of the strategy at a meeting Aug. 2 with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, they said.