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LDP taskforce proposes doubling defense budget in five years 

  • April 16, 2022
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All national papers reported over the weekend that an LDP panel on security affairs headed by former Defense Minister Onodera has drafted a package of recommendations to assist the Kishida administration with updating the 2014 National Security Strategy (NSS) and two other key defense documents in December. The panel reportedly emphasized in the draft that Japan cannot afford to waste any more time in bolstering its defense capabilities because the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that a unilateral change of status quo by force could happen anywhere, including in East Asia. The panel called on the administration to increase annual funding for the SDF by 100% in about five years to the equivalent of 2% of GDP and refer to China as a “security threat” and Russia as either a “realistic threat” or a source of “extremely strong concern” in the updated NSS. As for the idea of the SDF acquiring weapons capable of striking missile launch sites in enemy territory, the Onodera commission said “nerve centers,” such as command, control, and communication facilities, should be included among the potential targets of such weapons.


The taskforce also underscored the need to revise Japan’s three principles on the transfer of defense equipment so that lethal weapons can be exported to countries facing foreign aggression. It also proposed changing the name of the five-year National Defense Program Guidelines to National Defense Strategy and the Midterm Defense Buildup Program to Defense Buildup Program.  


In a related story, today’s Mainichi took up a remark made on a Sunday talk show by former Defense Minister Kono calling for caution against rushing to ramp up the defense budget. “Careful discussions should be held to identify what is really necessary for national defense,” the politician said. “Otherwise, the SDF will be able to purchase whatever it wants.”   

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