Japan May Axe 1 Percent GDP Cap on Defence Spending

Asia & Pacific

Since the 1990s, the only year Japan’s defence expenditure topped 1 percent of GDP was fiscal 2010, when GDP plunged after the global financial crisis.

Japan’s Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi has signalled that Tokyo is ready to scrap the 1 percent GDP cap on annual defence spending.

In an exclusive interview with Nikkei, the minister said that Japan does not decide its defence budget while worrying about how big it is in relation to GDP.

Kishi added that the country should keep up with the rapid changes and develop new areas of warfare, such as space, cyber, and electromagnetics.

Japan considers China and North Korea to be among the main military threats in the Pacific region. Tokyo and Beijing have a number of disputed territories, including the Senkaku Islands, which China claims and calls Diaoyu.

The defence minister also said that Japan would enhance its capabilities on the Nansei Islands, which are key in the defence of the Senkakus. According to him, the country is going to add a third unit to the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, based in Sasebo, Nagasaki.

Japan’s military budget has been steadily increasing since 2010, but never exceeded 1 percent of GDP. Massive spending, particularly through 2020, was partially related to the development of state-of-the-art defence equipment of domestic production. In certain areas, Japan opted to renounce some foreign technologies, even though it meant more…

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