Japan approves massive military spending growth, lifts ban on lethal weapons exports

Japan approves massive military spending growth, lifts ban on lethal weapons exports


The Japanese government approved a significant bump in military spending and an end to the country’s ban on exporting lethal weapons.

The Cabinet of Japan made the decision Friday to increase defense spending by 16% and overturn the export ban which has been in place since World War II.

“In taking the action, we hope to contribute to defend a free and open international order based on the rule of law and to achieve the peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the press following the announcement. 

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Japanese soldiers from the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) is seen taking part in an urban assault in Townsville, Australia.  ((Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images))

Kishida added, “There is no change to our principle as a pacifist nation.”

Japan’s first export of lethal weapons was made immediately following the change, sending Patriot-guided missiles to the United States. 

The missiles were previously manufactured in Japan under a US license.

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Prime Minister Kishida at a podium

Prime Minister Kishida delivers a speech during a ceremony ahead an Air Self-Defense Force Review at Air Self Defense Force (ASDF) Camp Iruma in Saitama prefecture, Japan, Tokyo. (David Mareuil/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The approval marks yet another step towards the full remilitarization of Japan, which was provided with a constitution renouncing its right to wage war by US occupying administrators following WWII.

“The scope, scale, and speed of Japan’s security reforms have been unprecedented,” U.S. Ambassador Rahm Emanuel said on social media. 

Emanuel called the change in policy “a significant example of Japan’s shared commitment to deterrence.”

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force

Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) mobile combat vehicles fire ammunition during a live fire exercise at East Fuji Maneuver Area at night in Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan.  (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images)

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Japan’s government, headed by the powerful Liberal Democratic Party, is aiming to increase the country’s relevance on the geopolitical stage through a series of reforms to its demilitarized status.

Territorial disputes with the People’s Republic of China and demonstrations of aggression from neighboring North Korea have pushed Japan towards securing more formidable military capabilities.



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