Japan to Boost Defense Spending to 2% of GDP by 2027

Japan plans to ratchet up its defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2027, according to its new national security strategy. 

“A sharp increase in defense capability cannot be achieved by means of a temporary increase in spending, but requires maintaining a certain level of appropriations. Japan will take the necessary measures so that in the fiscal year 2027 the budget level for both radical strengthening of defense capability and for additional measures will reach 2% of the current gross domestic product,” the strategy read.

Japanese authorities are concerned about North Korea’s nuclear missile program, China’s growing influence in East Asia, and the situation in Ukraine. According to TAAS, in the current fiscal year that began in April, Japan’s defense spending increased by roughly 50 billion yen compared to the previous fiscal year.

Japanese authorities stressed that Japan is pursuing a policy of self-defense and has no intentions of becoming a military power. 

“As a peace-loving nation, we will dedicate ourselves exclusively to defense and will not become a military superpower that poses a threat to other countries. There is also no change in our desire to adhere to the three non-nuclear principles,” the strategy read.

Japanese leaders believe that the present security situation on the global stage is the most dangerous since World War II. This has compelled it to bolster its defense spending to confront the new challenges of the multipolar world. 

The strategy stressed Japan’s right to carry out counterstrikes on military assets in a potential enemy’s territory. 

“If attacked by an adversary, Japan must have a counterstrike capability, i.e., the ability to launch an effective counterstrike in order to prevent the enemy’s further armed attacks,” the strategy outlined.

In addition, the strategy noted that the conditions for Japan to launch a counterattack include an attack on Japan and an attack on an allied country that threatens its existence. 

On top of the national security strategy Japan has laid out a national defense strategy and a plan to develop Japan’s defense capabilities. 

This change in Japanese national security strategy is likely due to the rise of China, which it views as “the biggest strategic challenge” to regional and global security. 

Japanese authorities currently believe that “China’s foreign activities and military actions are of deep concern to Japan and the international community.”

Japan is a sovereign country with great wealth. If it views China as a threat, it has every right to arm itself and boost defense spending as it sees fit. However, the US should stay away from a potential China vs. Japan geopolitical clash. 

The US already has so many problems and it cannot afford to get embroiled in conflicts thousands of miles away in areas well outside of its historical sphere of influence. 

With Japan beginning to increase its military spending, it’s the perfect opportunity for the US to start pulling its roughly 56,000 active-duty military members stationed in Japan. 

A wealthy, sovereign nation like Japan has no business being a satrapy of the US. It’s time for Japan to be let loose and determine its geopolitical destiny without the US holding its hand.

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