Japan Unveils $320B Military Development

    Japan Unveils $320B Military Development
    Last updated Dec 17, 2022
    Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via The Wall Street Journal]


    • On Friday, Japan announced a five-year $320B package to build up its military — the largest of its kind since World War II and a significant departure from its pacifist stance.[1]
    • The new plan will reportedly include an increased defense budget of 2% of GDP by 2027, up from about the current 1%. Based on the current GDP, annual spending could reach approximately $80B, ranking Japan third out of the top three countries, behind the US and China.[2]
    • Under the plan, Tokyo will reportedly purchase US long-range missiles with the capacity to eliminate potential adversary launch sites in the event of an attack. It also plans to bolster its cyber warfare capabilities.[3]
    • The expansion was reportedly prompted by the war in Ukraine, and North Korea's escalating missile launches, with particular attention to China’s rapid military buildup, which Japan described as an "unprecedented strategic challenge."[4]
    • Meanwhile, China responded by encouraging Tokyo to "reflect on its policies," with a foreign ministry spokesperson accusing the island country of discrediting China.[5]
    • The US has encouraged Japan for years to increase its military spending. After World War II, Japan and the US signed a security treaty, guaranteeing that the US would come to Japan's aid if the country was attacked.[6]


    Anti-China narrative

    Japan, which holds the largest permanent contingent of US forces overseas, can no longer solely rely on US support — a fact that this latest plan acknowledges. The new strategy fortifies the US and Japan's vigor and will reshape their ability to promote peace and protect the Indo-Pacific region as China attempts to exert its influence.

    Pro-China narrative

    Japan is groundlessly discrediting China. By adopting this new policy, Japan is putting itself on a more offensive footing, and deviating from its commitment to China-Japan relations and the common understanding between the two countries. But hyping-up the so-called China threat to find an excuse for its military build-up is doomed to fail.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 62% chance that Japan Self-Defense Forces will have tested a Tomahawk missile by mid-2027, according to the Metaculus Prediction Community.

    Establishment split



    More neutral establishment stance articles