TOKYO - Japan has released a near-final draft of its first national security strategy that calls for a stronger military amid the rise of China.

A panel appointed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued the draft Wednesday, saying changes in America's relative influence make it necessary for Japan to expand its alliances with other countries while also strengthening its long-standing ties with the U.S.

It raises concern about China's rapid military expansion without any transparency.

The report, called the National Security Strategy, says Japan should ease its principles on banning arms exports as a way to step up its international peacekeeping co-operation.

The Cabinet is expected to approve the report next week along with Japan's overall defence guidelines. The strategy is part of Abe's efforts to strengthen Japan's national security.