Japan unveiled Friday its largest military buildup since World War Two. Its $320 billion plan will purchase missiles that can strike China. The plans are being made in response to rising tensions, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which have stoked war fears.
It is “my answer to all the security problems that we face,” stated Prime Minister Fumio Kishhida. He described Japan’s people as at “a turning point in history”.
Russia may have set an example that China will follow, encouraging China to strike Taiwan. This could lead to the destruction of supplies of high-tech semiconductors, and possibly a stranglehold over sea lanes which supply oil from the Middle East.
Japan is now on a different path. “If properly executed, the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) will be a real and world-class efficient force,” stated Yoji Koda who was a former admiral of the Maritime Self Defense Force, and who commanded Japan’s fleet in 2008.
The government announced that it will also increase transport capacity, stockpile spare parts, and create cyber warfare capabilities in the five-year-long plan. This was previously unimaginable for pacifist Japan.
Japan has given up its right and ability to wage war in the postwar constitution that was American-authored.
The strategy paper stated that Russia’s incursion in Ukraine was a grave violation of international laws prohibiting the use force.
It stated that China’s strategic threat is “the greatest Japan has ever faced,” and also noted that Beijing was open to using force to control Taiwan.
Separate national security strategy documents that pointed out China, Russia, and North Korea promised cooperation with the United States, and similar-minded countries, to prevent threats to established international order.
U.S. In a statement, Rahm Emanuel, Ambassador to Japan, said. He added, “He put a capital D next to Japan’s deterrence.”
Tsai Ingwen, Taiwan’s President, stated that she expects greater defense cooperation with Japan after meeting Mitsuo Ohashi from Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association in Taipei.
Tsai stated that “We look forward Taiwan and Japan continuing their cooperation achievements in different fields such as the economy and trade,” according to the presidential office.
The Chinese foreign ministry didn’t immediately reply to our request for comment.
Toshimichi Nakaiwa, a former Air Self-Defense Force General, said that the Ukraine war had shown Japan how important it is to be able sustain a battle. He said, “Japan has a slow start. It is as if we are 200m behind in a 400m sprint.”
China’s defense spending has outpaced Japan’s since the beginning of this century. It now has more than four times the military budget. According to military sources, Japan’s immediate challenges are a shortage of munitions and a dearth of spare parts which ground aircraft and take out other military equipment from action.
Kishida’s plan to double defense outlays will amount to approximately 2% of GDP over five years. This is in addition, it surpasses the self-imposed spending limit of 1% that was set since 1976.
Based on the current budgets, it will raise Japan’s defense ministry budget by around 10%. Japan will become the third largest military spending country after China and the United States.
This splurge will allow Japanese military equipment manufacturers such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, (7011.T) to continue to develop three longer-range missiles for Japan’s future missile force.
MHI, along with BAE Systems PLC and Leonardo SPA (LDOF.MI), will build Japan’s next fighter jet in a joint venture between Japan and Britain.
Tokyo provided $5.6 billion to this fund in its five-year defense programme.
Other companies can also reap the benefits. Japan wants U.S. Tomahawk ship-launched cruise missiles manufactured by Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N), to be part its new deterrent force.
Japan will also be shopping for interceptor missiles to protect its ballistic missile defense, attack and reconnaissance aircraft, and satellite communication equipment.
To pay for that equipment, Kishida’s ruling bloc earlier on Friday said it would raise tobacco, corporate and disaster-reconstruction income taxes. The opposition to any tax increases within the ruling Liberal Democratic party is strong so it remains to be seen when Kishida will increase those rates.