Japan defence review warns of China's military might Japan has unveiled sweeping changes to its national defence polices, boosting its southern forces in response to neighbouring China's military rise. Japan, which shares a maritime border with China, said Beijing's military build-up was of global concern. Japan will also strengthen its missile defences against the threat from a nuclear-armed North Korea. The policy document has been approved by the cabinet and will shape Japan's defence policy for the next 10 years. Japan is changing its defence policy in response to the shifting balance of power in Asia, analysts say. Defences will be scaled down in the north, where they have been deployed since the Cold War to counter an invasion from Russia. The military focus will now be in the far-southern islands of Japan, closer to China. Japan is concerned by China's growing naval might and increased assertiveness in the East China and South China seas. "China is rapidly modernising its military force and expanding activities in its neighbouring waters," the new guidelines said. "Together with the lack of transparency on China's military and security issues, the trend is a concern for the region and the international community." Relations between Japan and China deteriorated sharply in September, after collisions between a Chinese trawler and Japanese patrol boats near a chain of disputed islands in the East China Sea. North Korea concerns The review paper said tanks would be cut by one-third, but Japan's submarine fleet will be expanded and fighter jets upgraded. Japan's military is constitutionally banned from taking offensive action North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes were also described as a "pressing and serious destabilising factor". Pyongyang has fired missiles over Japan and staged nuclear tests in recent years, and last month unveiled a new uranium enrichment plant to US experts. In response, more Patriot interceptor batteries will be deployed across Japan, and the number of warships which can shoot down missiles will be increased. The paper called the Japan-US alliance "indispensable". The US has a 50,000-strong troop presence in the country. Japan said it would "promote confidence and co-operation with China and Russia" while also developing ties with the EU and Nato. Japan's military is bigger than the UK's, but is forbidden by the country's constitution from taking offensive action. The BBC's Roland Buerk, in Tokyo, says the new strategic stance will be closely watched in Asia, where Japan's World War II aggression has been neither forgotten nor forgiven.