Japan, the U.S.’s WWII enemy who bombed Pearl Harbor and killed tens of millions across Asia, will spend $53 billion in 2024 to beef up its military in the perceived threat of China and North Korea—much to the delight of Washington.
The Financial Times reported that the amount is a 13 percent rise from last year’s budget. The paper noted that Tokyo released its national security strategy and identified China as its top challenge.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has long noted that Japan plays an important role in Washington’s effort to counter China. (See “THREE BLIND MICE: BIDEN MEETS WITH SOUTH KOREAN, JAPANESE LEADERS TO UNITE AGAINST CHINA” 22 Aug 2023, “JAPAN SAYS MILITARY RUSSIA/CHINA IS A THREAT” 1 Aug 2023, “U.S. PROVOKES CHINA WITH PLANS FOR NATO OFFICE IN JAPAN” 30 May 2023, “BIDEN RAMPS UP WAR WITH CHINA, AMERICA WILL NUKE TO PROTECT JAPAN” 17 Jan 2023, and “JAPAN DOUBLES UP MILITARY SPENDING, ENDS PACIFIST DEFENSE STRATEGY” 20 Dec 2022.)
The strategy focuses on its relationship with the U.S. while increasing its own military spending by 2 percent. Japan has the world’s third-largest economy.
Japan is particularly focused on its “counter-strike capability,” which will include money earmarked for 400 U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles, hypersonic weapons, and surface-to-ship cruise missiles. The FT noted that the 2024 budget funds Aegis-equipped destroyers, new stealth frigates, and precision-guided missiles.
The country is no longer following its self-imposed ban on so-called offensive weapons. The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. recently approved the sale of 50 extended-range missiles for $104 million.
Following the U.S. to Hell
The U.S. and Western media have accused China of becoming more assertive in the region and called the new military spending almost essential for Tokyo, which signed Article 9 of its constitution that forbids the country from using its military from settling international disputes.
The new amount would mean Japan becomes the world’s third-largest military spender behind the U.S. and China. Lawmakers in Japan also see North Korea as an emerging threat that requires attention.
TRENDPOST: Japan was largely silent when Russia annexed Crimea, but has “marched in lockstep with Western allies on unprecedented sanctions and tough rhetoric, even sending non-lethal military aid.”
Japan has taken a lead role in trying to cut Russia’s ability to fund its war in Ukraine by leading the G7 charge to put price caps on Russian seaborne oil. UCANews.com noted that Japan has its own beef with Russia over a small island chain off its coast that dates back to WWII.
Besides cozying up with the West for any possible future confrontations, Tokyo has improved its relationship with the Philippines. The report noted that two fighter jets from Japan landed in the country for the first time since WWII earlier this month. The Philippines also has a contentious relationship with Beijing over the South China Sea.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to meet North Korea’s Kim Jong-un later this week in Vladivostok and discuss a possible deal that would include Pyongyang-produced artillery shells for Moscow in exchange for food and “advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines,” according to The New York Times.
The report, citing unnamed officials, said the meeting could take place from 10-13 September at the University in Vladivostok—during the Eastern Economic Forum. The U.S. called on North Korea to refuse Russia’s request and warned the impoverished country that Washington would impose more sanctions if there’s a deal.
Japan said it was monitoring the situation with “concern.”