Japan: As one of the biggest military spenders in the world, Japan is poised to approve the largest increase in defense spending since the end of the war.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s ruling party plans to request a fiscal year 2023 budget for the Defense Ministry by the end of August, doubling spending over five years from this year’s 5.4 trillion yen ($39.5 billion). wants to do
Spending of this size could push Japan from ninth in the world for military spending to third behind the United States and China, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI, which tracks defense spending.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s provocation of Taiwan and North Korea’s nuclear weapons have alarmed Japanese citizens and strengthened their support for increased spending. According to the World Bank, the three nuclear-armed countries bordering Japan also have the three largest armies in the world, with a total of 5.5 million troops. The Self-Defense Force, the Japanese army, is made up of approximately 231,000 personnel.
Japan is under pressure to spend more money on less obvious things like pay raises, ammo, spare parts and logistics, in addition to buying physical equipment.
According to retired Vice Admiral Toshiyuki Ito, a professor at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, most people probably think doubling the defense budget would get a lot more equipment. But it’s not just about hoarding more stuff,
Ballistic missiles fired by China during military exercises around Taiwan this month that landed near Japan’s southwestern islands are a reminder of the current problems. According to Kishida, Taiwan is on the front line of the conflict between China and the United States, and any untoward incident in the Taiwan Strait will have disastrous consequences for Japan.
Due to its pacifist constitution, Japan has always kept its military spending to less than 1% of its GDP, relying instead on the “nuclear umbrella” of the United States to support its capabilities. However, in an unusual move, the Mainichi newspaper and other outlets have reported that no limits will be placed on spending requests at this time.
According to Kyodo News, while the initial 2023 request for the Ministry of Finance would represent a relatively modest increase of 5.5 trillion yen ($40.2 billion), the final amount is expected to increase as unspecified costs for about 100 articles are finalized. form was given.
According to Yomiuri, the ministry plans to introduce unmanned aerial combat drones as well as improved missile and radar systems capable of intercepting rockets from China and North Korea, including hypersonic systems. According to the newspaper, Japan intends to build a missile arsenal of around 1,000 weapons that can be launched from planes and ships and delivered to China and North Korea.
According to Yomiuri, the co-development of the next-generation fighter jet will be funded with the UK.
Ito believes there is no need for more battleships, despite his career in the SDF Marine Division. Even if Tokyo expanded its fighter fleet, it would still struggle to find enough pilots, he continued, until its soldiers’ pay improves.
Ito recommends investing extra money in unconventional things like hiring “white hat” hackers to help protect the Lightning Network.
The Japanese SDF has about 16,000 members less than budgeted. According to experts, this shortcoming is partly due to the lack of age-appropriate candidates in the country with the oldest population in the world, as well as a frugal attitude towards compensation.
Alessio Petalano, professor of East Asian warfare and strategy at King’s College London, said current pay and support for the SDF “simply isn’t good enough” and that personnel management and welfare general Japanese military personnel should be a priority.
According to the Ministry of Defense, an officer-level college graduate who enlists in the military receives a salary of around 3.6 million yen (US$26,400) in the first year, increasing at age 40. . becomes 6 million yen. Compensation for dangerous posting may be added. After four years of experience, the annual salary of a US Army officer is likely to be around $62,000.
According to Corey Wallace, an assistant professor at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan, Japan should increase its stockpile of fuel, parts and ammunition to address concerns that if conflict breaks out it will have a chance of surviving. may not have the stamina.
Japan has steadily increased its defense spending over the past decade, beginning a policy shift after the late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in 2012.
After the start of the war in Ukraine, the escalation plan received a favorable response in the polls, with nearly 50% of respondents in a June poll by Jiji Press. However, most people opposed doubling the budget of the most indebted country in the world.
According to Professor Aurelia George Mulgan of the University of New South Wales, who specializes in Japanese politics and regional security, this disagreement over the scope of change could lead to a political stalemate.
She predicts a “potential battle down the road” between the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and Kishida’s new defense minister, Yasukazu Hamada, who may try to control spending.
There is a caveat that the defense buildup might not impact Japan if it is not coupled with proper diplomatic and economic strategy.
According to Naoko Aoki, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Asian Security Initiative and a non-resident, “Japan cannot make itself more secure by simply increasing its defense spending.” “Japan’s increased defense capabilities could make other countries in the region feel threatened, prompting them to respond in a way that leaves no one better than before.”
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