Citing looming threats from China and North Korea, Japan says it will revamp its military strategy and double its military expenditure focusing on raising its counter-strike capabilities.
According to the new policy unveiled on Friday, December 16, Japan will shift from the country’s pacifist approach, which has dominated its political discourse for decades ever since the US defeated it in World War 2 and changed it’s constitution making Japan’s military purely defensive in nature.
Japan said on Friday its military spending has been beefed up to counter threats from China and a heavily armed North Korea warning that China currently poses the “greatest strategic challenge ever.”
The cabinet approved three documents which outlined the strategy shift — the National Security Strategy (NSS), the National Defense Program Guidelines, and the Mid-Term Defense Program.
The move will now ramp up Japan’s security expenditure from 1% of GDP to NATO’s standard of 2% of GDP by 2027.
The most changes will be the acquisition of what Japan calls “counter-strike capacity.” This is the ability to strike other nations that may threaten Japan’s safety.
The approved documents warn that Japan’s current missile interception systems are no longer sufficient
As per reports, the country will now buy up to 500 US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles which can reach a distance of 1,250 kilometers (775 miles).
Tokyo will also triple the number of military units equipped with ballistic missile interception capabilities.
Under the new strategy, the country will increase its military presence in its southernmost islands to counter Beijing’s threats.
Other changes include the reshaping of the military command.
Japan’s Self-Defence Forces (SDF) will be reorganized and placed under a newly appointed permanent joint command to respond more quickly to emergencies.
By March 2024, Japan’s military personnel will be permitted to use civilian ports and airports.
According to reports by the newspaper Yomiuri, which said that it had seen the draft of the plan, Tokyo will spend close to $22 billion towards cyber warfare operations and $14 billion on space capabilities.
Meanwhile, Japan, which once sought enhanced ties and cooperation with Russia, now warns Moscow of its military posture in Asia and calls its proximity to China “a strong security concern.”
Earlier in October, Japan joined its Western allies in imposing sanctions over Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
Japan says its doubled defense budget will be funded by a raise in corporate, income and tobacco taxes.
The hike was approved on Thursday by a tax panelof Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
Chinese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called the new defense strategy by Japan an “urgent challenge in this severe security environment.”