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Japan, US Upgrading Military Emergency Plan
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Tokyo and Washington have been upgrading joint operation plans for a possible contingency on the Korean Peninsula that could develop into a military crisis in Japan since December, local media reported on Friday.

The new joint operational plan, an upgrade of the one signed in 2002, is expected to be "far more detailed," the English-language Asahi Shimbun newspaper said. It will call on Japan to provide logistics support for US troops, including the use of specific ports and hospitals in case of a military emergency in or around Japan.

Japan and the United States hope to nail down the plan by autumn this year, the paper said, citing government sources. Discussions have been going on between members include the vice chief of staff of Japan's Self-Defense Forces (SDF), the US military deputy commander stationed in Japan and other senior officials.

The plan will spell out role-sharing arrangements for the SDF and the US military, including defense of the country against missiles and direct strikes on enemy bases.

According to the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper on Friday, the plan will also include measures to evacuate civilians of the two countries living in South Korea in case of emergency.

Under the envisioned evacuation plan, Japan is required to provide a temporary refuge for Americans evacuated from South Korea, while the United States should help transport Japanese evacuees using its military aircraft and vessels, the Yomiuri said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 5, 2007)

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