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Japan sets defence budget target of 2% of GDP

Japan aims to achieve defence spending worth 2% of GDP by 2027. Janes Defence Budgets analysis suggests that while this effort might prove overambitious, even a limited increase in the proportion of funding allocated to defence will result in strong growth in expenditure. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada has confirmed a government plan to strongly increase defence spending over the next few years to support the “drastic strengthening of [Japan's] defence capabilities”.

Hamada said in a Ministry of Defense (MoD) press conference that the plan had been endorsed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who, on 28 November, directed his government to increase defence spending to 2% of national GDP by 2027.

“Towards the drastic strengthening of our defence capabilities, [the] prime minister has said it is necessary to urgently strengthen [the defence budget] within five years,” Hamada said in comments published by the MoD.

He added, “I have been instructed to decide on measures to secure financial resources for defence expenditure and revenue in an integrated manner. In response to the prime minister's instruction, the MoD will accelerate co-ordination with the Ministry of Finance and others.”

Hamada said measures to increase the defence budget in line with Kishida's instruction will be concluded by the end of 2022, when Japan is scheduled to issue new defence policies.

The plan to increase defence spending to 2% of GDP was initially outlined by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) early in 2022. The LDP said the funding was required to enhance the capability of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) in response to rapidly intensifying regional security concerns.

The spending pledge has been proposed as the basis for the government's review of Japan's National Security Strategy (NSS) by the end of 2022.

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