Briefs, January 28, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 5:32am

Biggest military boost in 20 years for Japan

TOKYO - Japan will boost its number of military personnel, Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said, as the new government led by the Liberal Democratic Party tackles a territorial spat with Beijing over East China Sea islets. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led the LDP to a landslide election victory last month, promising to beef up the military and stand tough in the dispute over the islands, called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. The number of personnel, now at about 225,000, will increase by 287, the biggest rise in two decades, Onodera said. Reuters


Death toll rises after Indonesian landslides

JAKARTA - The death toll in two separate landslides triggered by torrential rain in western Indonesia rose to 12, including five workers, with 14 others buried. The worst landslides occurred in West Sumatra province, where 20 houses were buried. The bodies had been evacuated and heavy digging equipment was being used to hunt for the missing. AP


4,000 protest over US troops in Okinawa

TOKYO - Political leaders from Okinawa and their supporters protested in Japan's capital against the heavy US military presence in their southern prefecture. Organisers said some 4,000 people marched through the glitzy Ginza shopping district holding banners reading "Firmly against Osprey", a tilt-rotor US military aircraft said by opponents to be prone to accidents. The rally was among the biggest involving Okinawan mayors and politicians since the island chain was returned to Japan from US control in 1972, broadcaster NHK said. AFP


Gunmen in Philippines kill nine police, guards

MANILA - Gunmen ambushed a truckload of policemen and village guards who had helped secure a village dance festival in the central Philippines, killing nine and wounding nine others, officials said. About 20 gunmen raked the victims' truck with automatic-weapon fire before dawn in the foothills of Mount Kanlaon, in Negros Occidental province. Police said they may have been communist New People's Army guerillas. AP