Japan to ‘drastically strengthen’ military due to unstable Asia

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Japan to ‘drastically strengthen’ military due to unstable Asia

Robert Besser
31 May 2022, 21:01 GMT+10

  • Japan plans to “drastically strengthen” its military capabilities due to concerns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could create instability in East Asia
  • After meeting U.S. President Joe Biden last week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised to “substantially increase” Japan’s defense budget
  • Japan’s military planners have also expressed ongoing concern about China and North Korea

TOKYO, Japan: Japan plans to “drastically strengthen” its military capabilities due to concerns that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could create instability in East Asia.

After meeting U.S. President Joe Biden last week, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised to “substantially increase” Japan’s defense budget.

In a draft, Japanese officials stated, “There have been attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in East Asia, making regional security increasingly severe.”

Japan’s military planners have also expressed ongoing concern about China and North Korea.

“We will drastically strengthen defense capabilities that will be the ultimate collateral to secure national security,” the draft document says.

In light of China’s growing military spending and missile threats from North Korea, former prime minister Shinzo Abe has called for increasing Japan’s defense spending from 5.4 trillion yen under this year’s initial budget to nearly 7 trillion yen ($60 billion) in the next fiscal year, Nippon Television Network reported.

Abe, who still wields considerable clout as head of the largest faction in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, stated, “It is natural (for the government) to secure defense spending equivalent of 2 percent of GDP.”

Higher defense spending will put further pressure on Japan’s already difficult public finance situation, observers noted.

To cushion the blow to households and firms from rising fuel and raw material costs, the Japanese lower house of parliament has approved an extra 2.7 trillion yen funded by bond sales.

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