News On Japan

What's behind Japan's massive military build-up plan

TOKYO, Sep 02 (DW News) - Japan is arming itself like it never has before. The Defense Ministry has now asked for a nearly 12 percent budget increase this year, to finance the acquisition of warships and long range cruise missiles.

If approved, it would be the second straight year of the new five-year military build-up plan that was approved in December last year.

The request to increase the defense budget as part of that plan, came a day after Japan's top uniformed officer, General Yoshihide Yoshida warned that the neglected state of the country's Self-Defence Forces had put it's very sovereignty in jeopardy.

In an interview to the Nikkei Asia newspaper, he said: "We cannot maintain Japan's security with our current capabilities. The international community is at a critical juncture on whether it can prevent unilateral changes in the status quo by force and maintain an international order based on the rule of law. Japan is on the front lines of this fight in the Indo-Pacific."

North Korea has always been a threat to the island nation and in recent years, under Kim Jong Un, that threat has only increased. A now nearly monthly danger comes from the numerous missile launches from North Korea. Missiles which land on many occassions in waters around Japan. It is one of the reasons why the defense ministry wants the funds to build two warships which will have the radar capability to intercept North Korean missile launches.

And then there is the historical threat from China. Both nations have territorial disputes as well that have seen ships from both countries face off in recent years. The war in Ukraine has added a new dimension to this threat in the form of the 'no limits' partnership between China and Russia. The navies of both nations have since last year conducted numerous jount patrols and drills in the seas around Japan.


The activity of the weather front is expected to intensify due to Typhoon No. 1, leading to widespread rainfall from May 27th, with heavy rain warnings from Kyushu to Kanto by May 28th.

Princess Kako, the second daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, arrived in Greece on May 26th, marking her third official overseas engagement. This visit commemorates the 125th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Greece.

In December 2023, the body of a man was discovered inside a suitcase along the banks of the Tamagawa River in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Police have arrested five individuals, including the man's ex-girlfriend and her family, on suspicion of abandoning the body.

In an incident that has shocked the local community, a mother and her three children were found dead on May 23 in their home in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The father, who was also found at the scene with neck injuries, had finalized a divorce from the mother just three days prior.

The historic "Soma Nomaoi" event, which boasts over a thousand years of tradition and features armored horsemen parading in a scene reminiscent of the Sengoku period, commenced on May 25 in Fukushima's coastal region. Traditionally held in July, the event was rescheduled to May this year to avoid the severe summer heat after a horse died from heatstroke last year.


MORE Politics NEWS

Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) conducted its largest live-fire exercise, the 'Fuji Comprehensive Firepower Exercise,' on Sunday.

An Osaka city official, not in charge of the matter, strongly urged an increase in the payment amount to a contractor for the disposal of the whale 'Yodo-chan'.

A bill to abolish the current Technical Intern Training Program and establish a new employment training system has been passed by Japan's House of Representatives, with support from the ruling parties.

Foreign Minister Kamikawa has retracted her comment made on May 18 during an election campaign speech, where she stated, 'What is a woman without giving birth?' Kamikawa acknowledged that her words could be taken in a way that differs from her true intention.

A revised Civil Code introducing 'joint custody' for children after divorce has been passed by the Diet. This marks the first time in 77 years that Japan has reviewed the approach to post-divorce custody.

Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested three leaders of the political group 'Tsubasa Party' on suspicion of violating the Public Offices Election Act by disrupting the speeches of other candidates during a House of Representatives by-election in Tokyo's 15th district. Investigators view this as a "challenge to democracy" and plan to pursue a thorough investigation.

Japan’s pension system is under review, and a key focus is on the "spousal pension" benefits. For homemakers, this is a pressing concern.

The House of Representatives' Political Ethics Review Committee has decided to investigate 44 lawmakers from the Abe and Nikai factions of the Liberal Democratic Party following a scandal involving undisclosed political funds. This decision comes in response to a request from opposition parties.