Japan’s ruling party to propose more defense spending, aiming for 2% of GDP

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will propose to the government a sharp increase in defense spending, party members said on Thursday, suggesting they would demand, at a minimum, an amount equivalent to 2% of the country’s gross domestic product, or double the current level.

The party’s draft proposal to revise the government’s national security strategy will also include the controversial idea of ​​possessing the capability to disable an enemy country’s missiles, as well as its command and control systems.

The party’s National Security Research Commission proposal will be submitted to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida next week so that it can be reflected in the government’s review of the long-term directive, which is to be finalized by here the end of the year.

The proposal to acquire such an attack capability, however, could stoke fears that the country could deviate from its exclusively defense-oriented policy under the war-absent Constitution.

The move comes amid China’s growing military influence at a time when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has left many wondering what it might mean for the region’s security. North Korea’s launch of intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month has also highlighted the country as a growing missile and nuclear threat.

“With the defense spending target of more than 2% of GDP for NATO countries in mind, our country also aims to achieve that the budget reaches a level necessary to fundamentally strengthen defense capabilities in five years,” the draft proposal reads, referring to the numerical target for members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Japan’s defense budget for the current fiscal year to March 2023 was 5.4 trillion yen ($42 billion), marking a record eight consecutive years and up 1, 1% compared to the initial budget of the previous year. The budget has increased for 10 consecutive years.

Japan’s real GDP for 2021 was 536.79 trillion yen, according to the Cabinet Office.

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