Japan boosts military spending amid tensions over East China Sea archipelago
(19 December 2013)
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has approved new national defence and security strategies amid an increasingly tense environment regarding the contested territories of the East China Sea archipelago. Japan has announced it is to significantly increase its defence spending to strengthen and expand its military over the next five years. The spending proposal incorporates improved air and maritime surveillance and an enhanced ability to defend the disputed East China Sea archipelago, identified by Japan as the Senkaku, and as the Diaoyu by China.
The announcement comes shortly after China acknowledged a newly declared air defence identification zone over the East China Sea archipelago. The security strategy states, “China is attempting to alter the status quo by force in the skies and seas of the East China Sea and South China Sea and other areas based on assertions that are incompatible with the established international order”. It further declares, “China’s stance toward other countries and military moves, coupled with a lack of transparency regarding its military and national security policies, represent a concern to Japan and the wider international community and require close watch”. Japan affirms it will “build a comprehensive defensive posture that can completely defend our nation”.
Prime Minister Abe comments, “The strategy is designed to make our foreign and security policy clear and transparent both at home and abroad. We will do our part in contributing to global peace and security further”. The military expenditure budget will be raised by 1.2 trillion yen, over the next five years to approximately 24.7 trillion yen, an increase of almost 5%. It is reported that Japan plans to purchase three unarmed Global Hawk drones, twenty eight F-35A fighters, seventeen Osprey aircraft and five naval destroyers, as well as numerous amphibious vehicles.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Japan ranks fifth in the world for military expenditure, while China is second and the United States first.
“Japan increases defence budget amid tensions with China” The Guardian, 17th December 2013. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/17/japan-increases-defence-budget-tensions-china.
“Japan boosts military forces to counter China” BBC News, 17th December 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25411653.
“Japan to bolster military, boost Asia ties to counter China”, Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka, Reuters, 17th December 2013. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/12/17/uk-japan-security-idUKBRE9BG0CD20131217.
“Amid Chinese rivalry, Japan seeks more muscle” Martin Fackler, The New York Times, 17th December 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/world/asia/japan-moves-to-strengthen-military-amid-rivalry-with-china.html?_r=0.