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Japan MoD confirms no cap on defence budget

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo has confirmed to Janes that the Japanese government no longer applies any cap or restriction on the country's defence budget.

An MoD spokesperson said that the government's defence budget strategy is aligned with a long-term requirement to “steadily improve” the capability of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF).

The MoD's comments come amid growing political support in Japan for a move to significantly increase the country's defence budget in response to China's military modernisation.

This support has included Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi's comments to the Nikkei newspaper that Japan's defence budget would be guided by the requirements of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) rather than any restrictions on the defence funding.

He said the budget would be “guided by needs rather than caps”, adding, “we will properly allocate the funding we need to protect our nation”.

On 24 May the defence subcommittee of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LPD) also proposed that the government “drastically increase” the defence expenditure in light of growing regional tensions and China's increasing assertiveness.

The Japanese MoD spokesperson confirmed that Japan had previously limited the defence budget to no more than 1% of the national GDP. However, the spokesperson said that the related guidelines had not been applied for many years. The spokesperson added, “After the fiscal year 1987 budget, we have sought to secure a budget to improve steadily defence capability.”

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