Japan plans record $6.7B+ defence spending in extra budget

A Japanese military plane flies over the Senakuku/Diaoyu islands in this file photo. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

TOKYO, Nov 19, 2021, Reuters. Japan plans to allocate at least 770 billion yen ($6.74 billion) for defence in a supplementary budget expected to be announced along with an economic stimulus package on Friday, Kyodo News and other media reported, according to the Reuters.

That amount – the most for defence in a supplementary budget – would dwarf the 430 billion yen earmarked in an extra budget in fiscal 2019, and would include outlays for strengthening Japan’s defence capabilities near the southwestern islands, Kyodo reported.

Japan has long committed to keeping its military budgets within 1 percent of GDP, a number that has long eased concern at home and abroad about any revival of the militarism that led Japan into World War Two.

But with concern growing about China’s military in the disputed East China Sea, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) included a goal of spending 2% of GDP or more on the military in its policy platform ahead of an election held on Oct 31 – a sign that things might be changing.

The United States has been pushing key allies to spend more on defence and public sentiment in Japan has shown signs of shifting away from concerns about rearming to growing alarm over China’s military assertiveness in Asia, particularly toward Taiwan.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government is expected to announce a record 55.7 trillion-yen stimulus package on Friday to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

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