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Japan reviews key defence strategies in light of ‘severe' security landscape

According to Janes Defence Budgets, Japan's military expenditure is forecast to grow to about USD55 billion by the mid-2020s. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) has told Janes it will review the country's primary defence policies over the coming year given the Indo-Pacific's increasingly “severe” security situation.

A spokesperson from the MoD said an assessment of Japan's National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG), and the Medium Term Defense Program (MTDP) has been requested by new prime minister Fumio Kishida. The review is expected to be complete by 2022.

“In order to respond to the severe security environment Prime Minister Kishida recently ordered a revision [of the policies],” said the MoD spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that “discussions among the relevant ministers have begun” but that a “detailed schedule and scope of the revision” have not yet been determined. The review will be conducted through co-ordination between the “relevant ministers”, said the spokesperson.

Outlining the rationale for the revision, the spokesperson said that the National Security Strategy – Japan's first such document – was formulated more than seven years ago and, in the meantime, the “balance of power in the world has shifted”.

The revised National Security Strategy is expected to provide an outlook for the ensuing 10 years, although this has not been confirmed by the MoD.

The spokesperson added, “The security environment surrounding Japan has changed dramatically, including accelerated military build-up and a growing threat of cyber attack.

“In [this] situation, where the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming more severe, it is necessary to resolutely defend Japan's territory, territorial waters and airspace, as well as the lives and property of the people.”

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