Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi declared on Monday that his ministry might request a larger budget for the next fiscal year to bolster Tokyo’s ability to stand up to a possible military threat coming from any regional power.
The Asian nation’s longing to level up its military might comes despite Japan’s allegiance to an exclusively defense-oriented policy under the country’s constitution.
“The defense budget is a major indicator that shows the nation’s will. We want to ensure a budget that is enough to strengthen our defense capabilities drastically,”In an interview with Kyodo, Kishi said.
Japan’s defense minister suggested that Japan must support its military because of the increasingly dangerous regional security situation. He has warned, in particular, against China’s increasing military assertiveness as well as North Korea’s nuke threat.
Japan’s fears over North Korea are growing as Pyongyang is testing new intercontinental ballistic missiles. Tokyo is also increasingly concerned with Beijing’s claims of sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited Japanese archipelago in the East China Sea.
Meanwhile, Kishi has not mentioned Tokyo’s territorial dispute with Moscow over the Kuril Islands, a Russian archipelago that Japanese authorities deem “illegally occupied.”
In response to Tokyo’s anti-Russian sanctions regarding the Ukraine conflict, the Kremlin had abandoned peace negotiations with Japan and imposed visa restrictions on Japanese citizens. Officially, Russia and Japan have not signed any peace treaty since the Second World War.
Under the American occupation, in 1947, Japan adopted the war-renouncing constitution. This has greatly limited the military capabilities of the militaristic country. However, in the last decade, Japan’s defense budget has been growing annually. For the current fiscal year, it has exceeded a record-high $44 billion, which amounts to nearly 1 percent of the country’s GDP.
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