The World Today for December 08, 2022


Give War a Chance


Japan is planning on increasing defense spending to two percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) over the next five years. That might not seem like a lot in relative terms but it would be double what the country now spends, Reuters noted.

North Korea’s erratic, nuke-wielding leadership, China’s aggressive stance in Asia, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have compelled Japanese officials, including Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, to reconsider the pacifist stance that the US wrote into their constitution after World War II, wrote DefenseNews.

Russia’s aggression has especially spooked Kishida, the Washington Post claimed. Like the US and Europe, Japan has slapped sanctions on Russian trade, worsening relations between the two countries. Japan and Russia also have an outstanding conflict over four small islands in waters that lie between the two.

Such moves are shaking up the strategic landscape of East Asia, where China, Japan, and the US are the three most important actors – but where Japan has played little to no military role for more than 50 years. “By asserting its own deterrent power, Japan — the world’s third-largest economy — could become less a military protectorate of the United States and more an equal partner,” wrote the New York Times.

The shift won’t be easy for Japan. GDP is only projected to increase by 1.7 percent in the next year, noted the United States Naval Institute. The country has a massive debt to pay down, and a graying population requiring healthcare and other services – but who aren’t paying taxes.

Meanwhile, those costs are unavoidable if Japan wants to preserve the stability in Asia that has helped the country become one of the most affluent and advanced on earth, concluded a new official report cited in “Possession and reinforcement of counterstrike capability are indispensable for Japan to maintain and advance deterrence,” the report said.

To that end, Japan is seeking to acquire 500 Tomahawk cruise missiles that can strike targets as far as 775 miles away from their launch site, the Japan Times reported. Japan has also joined up with the UK and Italy to develop a new advanced fighter jet.

Japan is also permitting the export of fighter jets, missiles, and other weapons to allied countries, the Nikkei Asia reported. That’s a superb way to generate cash for domestic industries and maintain the capacity to produce a steady supply of equipment, ordnance and military tech innovations.

The samurais would be proud.

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