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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 March 1 - 7  > Abe declares military buildup in line with Trump’s demand
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2017 March 1 - 7 [POLITICS]

Abe declares military buildup in line with Trump’s demand

March 3, 2017
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on March 2 in a Diet committee meeting said that he will expand Japan’s defense budget to above 1% of GDP, a de facto upper limit. Abe’s remark is in line with policies of the U.S. Trump administration which urges its allies to increase military spending.

The prime minister announced this in response to questions by Abe’s strong supporter, Nippon Ishin Co-President Katayama Toranosuke, in a House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting.

In 1976, the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Miki Takeo made a decision to set a ceiling on Japan’s defense expenditure at 1% of GNP, which had been used to calculate the size of the economy until the mid-1990s. Even after this cabinet decision was revoked in 1987 when Prime Minister Nakasone Yasuhiro was in power, defense spending has basically been within 1% of GDP, with only rare exceptions.

On the other hand, since taking office in 2012, PM Abe has been increasing military spending which reached a record high of 5.1 trillion yen in the 2017 draft budget in defiance of the country’s pacifist constitution. As shown in the joint statement of the February Japan-U.S. summit, Abe promised that “Japan will assume larger roles and responsibilities in the alliance”.

PM Abe in the Diet meeting justified ever-expanding defense expenditures even with the fiscal difficulties by pointing to the deteriorating security environment in the Asia-Pacific region as a pretext. Abe boasted that the U.S. evaluates highly the ever-increasing expenditures in Japan’s military spending.

In response to Katayama, who proposed that the Abe government consider introducing the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, Abe said that the government has a responsibility to examine ways to improve the country’s weapons system.
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