Pyeongtaek, South Korea – Much has been made since Prime Minister Fumio Kishida issued three new strategic documents last week that will provide the policy direction for Japanese security for the next five to 10 years. The government released the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy and Defense Buildup Program, the first updates for those documents given that 2013 plus 2018 respectively, and the contents have generated a wide range of reporting since.
Already, there are a great number of news stories discussing the “major shift” in Japanese security practice and how Japan is leaving its “pacifist” roots behind. The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed titled “The sleeping Japanese giant awakes, ” while The Diplomat called this moment “Japan’s major turning point on defense policy. ” Meanwhile, the Council on Foreign Relations characterized its analysis as an explainer on “How Japan will be doubling down on its military power. ”
Certainly, there are things in the security documents worthy of attention. The pledge to double Japan’s protection spending by fiscal year 2027 not only eliminates a decades-long taboo of exceeding 1% of GDP, it means that the Japan government’s declared intent is to jump from the world’s ninth-largest defense spender to No . 3 behind only the United States and China.
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