Japan PM supports hike in military spending

Japan PM supports hike in military spending

Reuters

Japan will “substantially increase” defense spending, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged, as officials worry that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have repercussions in the Indo-Pacific.

Kishida, pictured, promised to strengthen Japan’s military capacity during his meeting with United States President Joe Biden at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) summit in Tokyo in late May 2022.

“There have been attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force in East Asia, making regional security increasingly severe,” according to a draft economic policy of the Japanese government.

The draft does not specify security threats, but Japan’s military planners have expressed concern about the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and North Korea. Japan has long-standing territorial disputes with Beijing, and Pyongyang recently has conducted a series of missile tests in violation of United Nations sanctions.

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

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called in late May 2022 for defense spending of nearly U.S. $54.4 billion for the next fiscal year, up from U.S. $42 billion. He referenced the Chinese Communist Party’s growing military spending and North Korea’s missile threats, Nippon Television Network reported.

Abe, who leads the biggest faction in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said it’s “natural” for the government to secure defense spending equivalent to 2% of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Kishida has not said how much he wants to boost military spending for the fiscal year starting in April 2023.

IMAGE CREDIT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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