skip to main content

Japan's LDP vows to double defence spending amid ‘increasingly severe security environment'

Ahead of Japan's upcoming general election on 31 October, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has pledged in its manifesto to double the country's defence spending from 1% to 2% of GDP in reaction to what it described as an “increasingly severe security environment” around Japan.

The party said that it will “drastically reconsider” the country's response to China's growing assertiveness across the Taiwan Strait and the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands – which are controlled by Tokyo, but also claimed by Beijing – as well as to the growing nuclear and missile threat posed by North Korea.

More specifically, it said it will “significantly strengthen” the nation's defence capabilities from fiscal year 2022–23 by accelerating efforts in the space, cyber, and electromagnetic domains.

At the same time, the LDP pledged to enhance the country's deterrence by acquiring “capabilities to block [intercept] ballistic missiles even in the territory of an opponent”, and vowed to intensify research and development efforts on “game-changing” military technologies such as artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapons.

In addition, the party said it will “quickly seek” to make four revisions to the Japanese Constitution, including inscribing in it the existence of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF).

However, Komeito, the LDP's junior coalition partner, has expressed concerns over the LDP's proposal to double defence spending. “I do not think the public will accept such a sudden [re]distribution of resources that leads only to defence spending doubling overnight,” Natsuo Yamaguchi, who heads the pacifist-leaning party, said on 15 October.

Japan's defence spending has remained around 1% of GDP in recent decades. That said, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo confirmed to Janes in early June that the Japanese government no longer applies any cap or restriction on the country's defence budget.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...