Japan Reverses Course, Announces Largest Military Buildup Since WWII Amid Rising China Threat

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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Japan unveiled a plan Friday to give its military the largest boost since World War II, a response to escalating security challenges from China and other adversarial neighbors.

The supersized $320 billion defense plan includes funding for purchasing missiles capable of striking China and transform the once-pacifist country into the world’s third-largest defense spender, Reuters reported. Japan’s new National Security Strategy highlights a rising, militant China as Japan’s most significant security threat and a world destabilized by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling for a robust military buildup in response.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the country stood at a “turning point in history” at a press conference Friday. He described Japan’s military escalation as an “answer to the various security challenges that we face.” (RELATED: Japan Is Supercharging Its Military In Response To China Threat)

Japan’s leaders view Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as setting a precedent for China to invade Taiwan, threatening Japanese territorial integrity, as well as disrupting supply chains for oil and semiconductors, according to Reuters,

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a serious violation of laws that forbid the use of force and has shaken the foundations of the international order,” the strategy paper said, according to Reuters. “The strategic challenge posed by China is the biggest Japan has ever faced.”

Japan’s plan also involves stockpiling defense articles and investing in offensive cyber capabilities, according to Reuters.

A separate strategy document also calls for enhanced defense cooperation with allies, especially the U.S., recognized globally as having taken the lead in confronting belligerence from Russia and China, Reuters reported.

Washington hailed the announcement Friday. Japan’s new initiative will “strengthen and modernize” the longstanding U.S.-Japan military alliance, White House National Security Adviser Sullivan said in a statement.

Japan’s constitution, crafted with U.S. input after WWII, forbade Japan from waging war or developing the means to act in an offensive manner, and dismantled the imperial army, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Since the 1970s, Japan rebuilt a “small but significant” military, which was authorized to conduct collective defense missions, and established a dialogue with the U.S. around joint defense cooperation.

“This is setting a new heading for Japan. If appropriately executed, the Self-Defense Forces will be a real, world-class effective force,” retired Admiral Yoji Koda said, according to Reuters.

Japan’s defense spending will double to 2% of gross domestic product over the next five years, skyrocketing past the 1% limit self-imposed in 1976, according to Reuters.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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