Japan’s $320 Billion Plan for Military Build-up

In a major shift from the long-time post-war pacific approach, Japan unveiled a 320 billion USD plan for a military build-up – the largest since the Second World War.

About the plan

The five-year plan, which is to be implemented with a total budget of 320 billion USD, will make Japan the third-largest military spender in the world after the United States and China. This comes after the cabinet led by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio approved Japan’s 3 important security documents.

Why is Japan planning build up its military?

  • The Japanese government is concerned with the growing threats in the region.
  • The catalyst for this decision may probably be Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Beijing’s growing belligerence, which indicates the possibility of China capturing Taiwan in the future.
  • There is also the threat of China’s claim over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands and the possibility of the Chinese takeover of those islands.

Why is Japan’s military build-up significant?

Under Japan’s post-war constitution, the country is not allowed to have an offensive military force. Article 9 states that “the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes”.

However, the situation is slightly more complex, with Japan consistently amending its security policy to enhance its military capabilities to defend itself from outside its territories. It has also been equipping itself to send forces overseas when necessary.

A 2012 report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies found that Japan has the sixth-best funded defence forces in the world. However, Japan’s new strategy opines that the country’s current defence capabilities are not sufficient due to the rapidly changing security environment.

As part of its overall security strategy, Japan is planning to boost its long-range strike capability with both imported and indigenous long-range weapons. This indicates that Japan is planning to maintain close ties with the United States and other like-minded countries, especially those in the Indo-Pacific.



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