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Defence Spending Debate Gains More Traction During Biden's Tokyo Visit


Japan Prime Minister Kishida used his Monday's talks with U.S. President Biden to express "determination to fundamentally reinforce Japan's defence capabilities and secure a substantial increase in the defence budget needed to effect this change."

  • The idea to boost defence spending has gained popularity among ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers, who last month recommended effectively doubling it to 2% of Japan's GDP.
  • Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is among the leading voices calling for the enhancement of Japan's defence capabilities. At a faction meeting last month, the influential politician floated the idea of issuing "defence government bonds."
  • Proposals to boost defence spending are becoming more popular with the Japanese public. This week's Sankei/FNN poll revealed that more than 60% of voters recognise the need to increase military expenditure and nearly 65% said Japan should acquire the ability to attack enemy bases.
  • Japan is yet another place where public debate on national defence has been affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but the role of China's continuously growing assertiveness in the region and North Korea's recent barrage of missile tests should not be overlooked.
  • On his part, Biden reaffirmed that Japan remains protected by U.S. extended deterrence mechanism, which includes the so called nuclear umbrella. The two sides agreed to maintain dialogue on enhancing their joint deterrence capabilities.

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