Record Defence Budget Increase for Japan

Japan has approved a record defence budget of 6.8 trillion yen ($55bn) for 2023, a 20% increase, due to regional security concerns and threats from China and North Korea. The budget, which is part of a new National Security Strategy, was approved by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's cabinet on Friday and will take effect from April. The strategy aims to double Japan's defence spending to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2027, following the NATO standard. This will eventually bring Japan's annual budget to around 10 trillion yen ($73bn), making it the third largest in the world after the United States and China.

Counterstrike Capability and Defence Againstments

The new National Security Strategy aims to provide Japan with a "counterstrike capability" that can pre-empt enemy attacks and protect itself from the growing risks posed by North Korea, Russia, and China, who may attempt to invade Taiwan. The budget, which is pending parliamentary approval, includes the purchase of US-made Tomahawk missiles for 211.3 billion yen ($1.6bn) and other long-range cruise missiles that can reach targets in China or North Korea. Japan will also pay the United States 110 billion yen ($830m) for equipment and software needed to launch the Tomahawks, as well as fees for technology transfer and staff training in the coming year.

Deviation from Pacifist Constitution

The new National Security Strategy represents a significant change from Japan's exclusively self-defence policy since the end of World War II. It states that China, with its rapid arms buildup, increasingly assertive military activity, and rivalry with the US, presents "an unprecedented and the greatest strategic challenge" to the peace and security of Japan and the international community.

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