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Japan joins international race to add AI to its defense capabilities



US set to invest $2bn into AI to overtake China

Japan is joining the international race to add artificial intelligence, robotics and drones to its defense capabilities, driven by a need to deploy its forces more effectively as population decline thins their ranks.

The coming years will see Japan acquire or develop a number of unmanned vehicles for surveillance, government plans show.

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The blueprint includes three maritime surveillance drones in the procurement program for fiscal years 2019 to 2023, and an eventual 20 of the ship-transportable aerial vehicles. The process of selecting a drone will begin in fiscal 2019.

In fiscal 2021, Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force will deploy the U.S.-made Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, creating a special unit to handle the drone, which can stay airborne for long periods.

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