Pressured on three fronts, Japan takes gloves off

Citing threats from Russia, China and North Korea, it is taking steps to become a major conventional military power, leaving the post-World War II restrictions further behind.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan would raise defence spending over the next five years to 2 per cent of GDP. PHOTO: REUTERS
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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had a profound psychological impact on Japan. Senior officials have said it makes a war of aggression more likely in the Asia-Pacific, and since the war broke out, most of the Japanese public now support beefing up the armed forces.

The Japanese are rattled by China’s military expansion, patrols near Japanese waters, challenges to Japan’s ownership of the Senkaku Islands, and bellicosity towards Taiwan. In August 2022, China fired five missiles into Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

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