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.

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