TOKYO -- The Japanese government will bolster its ability to collect information to prevent further terror attacks on its citizens following the recent hostage crisis involving Islamic State.
"In addition to gathering information and fostering connections through our diplomatic posts, we will strengthen cooperation with other countries including those in the Middle East," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at an upper house budget committee meeting on Monday.
He also revealed plans to send more defense attaches, who are self-defense-force troops tasked with gathering military information, to embassies in Jordan and other key Middle Eastern countries.
"Military intelligence units tend to only share information with other defense personnel," Abe said.
The prime minister stressed the need for a hardline stance against the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations. "We will not be able to protect Japanese lives if we become a country that hands out benefits whenever we are threatened," he said.
"We will boost humanitarian assistance, such as food aid, to the Middle East," he said about strengthening relations with the region. "Japan will fulfill its duties as a member of the international community against terrorism."