Japan hikes military spending to record levels as China threat looms

Japan’s cabinet on Friday approved a record ¥114.5 trillion (about $862 billion) budget for fiscal 2023. Most of it was allocated to welfare and defense spending amid growing regional security challenges from China.

The budget includes ¥36.9 trillion ($277.6 billion) for social security and ¥6.8 trillion ($51 billion) for defense, a 26.3% increase from the current defense budget of ¥5.4 trillion ($40.6 billion). Kyodo News report.

The defense budget includes spending on upgrading and mass-producing the Ground Self-Defense Force’s surface-to-ship guided missiles, which are key to Japan’s counterattack capabilities.

Japan’s military spending list for the next five years includes fast glide weapons, hypersonic missiles, surveillance drones, and US-made Tomahawk missiles.

The budget also includes costs related to hosting US military bases, he said. Local report.

Epoch Times photo
US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) launches a Tomahawk cruise missile in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn in the Mediterranean on March 29, 2011, in a handout released by the US Navy. (U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

The increase came when Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to increase defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product over the next five years to strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities.

To fund the spending of the Japanese military, the government planned to implement corporate, tobacco and income tax increases, but has yet to decide when the measures will take effect.

Tax revenue is estimated at ¥69.4 trillion ($522 billion). The Japanese government will also issue 434.3 billion yen (about $3.3 billion) in construction bonds to fund spending on military installations.

Watchful Eyes on China

Japan seeks the ability to fight back when dealing with regional security challenges from China, North Korea and Russia. The government last week approved three of her key defense documents, including the National Security Strategy, which calls China Japan’s “greatest challenge.”

The move is widely seen as a departure from Japan’s postwar constitution, which renounces the use of force in the settlement of wars and international disputes. He said he would maintain his defense policy.

Foreign Minister Kishida told reporters on the 16th, “Regarding the counterattack capabilities that we have decided to possess, we have written in detail in the National Security Strategy the definition and usage conditions.”

Japan worries about its own vulnerability as China expands its military presence near Taiwan and the East China Sea. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime did not rule out the possibility of using force to bring Taiwan under its control.

Other countries, including the Philippines, have also expressed concern over the CCP’s military activities.Philippines Department of Defense urged the army Strengthen its presence to prevent Chinese government encroachment on the South China Sea, which Beijing claims.

Seek cooperation from the United States, Australia, and Japan

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Dec. 6 that the U.S. would increase its presence in the rotation of bomber task forces, fighter jets and Australian naval and ground forces amid China’s threats.

Epoch Times photo
(LR) Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marls, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin attend a joint press conference following the 32nd Australia-US Ministerial Talks. doing. The U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., December 6, 2022. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“The United States and Australia share a vision of a region where each nation can determine its own future and should be called upon to be secure, prosperous and prosperous, free from coercion and intimidation. Unfortunately, that vision is challenged today. It’s been done,” said Austin. Joint meeting.

“China’s dangerous and coercive actions across the Indo-Pacific, including around Taiwan, in the Pacific island countries, and in the East and South China Seas threaten regional peace and stability,” he added.

The two countries agreed to “strengthen trilateral defense cooperation and invite Japan to integrate into force structure initiatives in Australia,” Austin said.

Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marls said an enhanced defense posture will lead to increased bilateral cooperation in all areas and is also considering increased force posture cooperation to strengthen the capabilities of Australian facilities. Stated.

“It is very important that we are doing this in terms of keeping balance within the region and getting other countries in the region involved. We are looking forward to it,” said Marles.

The Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Australia and Japan, two plus two meeting They met in Tokyo on December 9 and agreed to strengthen trilateral cooperation with the United States for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Aldogra Fredry

Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.