What will Japan’s military buildup look like?

By Sakura Murakami

TOKYO, Reuters – Japan revealed a new national security strategy Friday and details of its largest military buildup since World War Two. This marked shift from the pacifism that has dominated Japan’s political discourse for seventy years.

As tensions rise with China, Russia, and North Korea, the changes include spending on long-range missiles as well as cyber warfare capabilities.

Here’s what you need:

– The National Security Strategy (NSS), National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the Mid-Term Defence Program (MTDP) contain the changes.

These documents show Japan’s determination and commitment to developing new “counter strike” capabilities. These capabilities will enable Tokyo to strike ships and targets 1,000km (621.37 mi) away using land- or sea-launched rockets.

Japan’s military currently has missiles capable of flying a few hundred kilometers at most. Tokyo believes counter-attack capabilities will help deter any potential attacks.

Japan has been discussing this plan for over two years.

Tokyo will spend $37 billion on counterattack capability enhancements. For example, it will increase the range of its Type 12 antiship missiles. It plans to do this by 2027. It plans to also develop hypersonic weapons and other missiles.

These documents also state that Japan will purchase U.S. made Tomahawk missiles, which can be launched from ships. According to the Yomiuri newspaper, Tokyo may want as many as 500 cruise missiles that can fly 1,250km.

– The defense ministry will spend more that 43 trillion yen ($315.76billion) on its military in five years. It will double its defense budget to around 2% GDP.

Cyber warfare operations will receive $7 billion and space capabilities will receive $7 billion. $6 billion will be used to develop next-generation fighter planes with Britain or Italy.

Japan will open its first joint command and control centre to coordinate its air, land, and sea forces. Sources say that Prime Minister Kishida’s ruling Party is also considering joint U.S.–Japan commands.

– The documents claimed that Japan will increase munitions supplies, depots and other infrastructure, but didn’t give any specific details. The Yomiuri reported previously that Japan will build about 70 munitions storage depots within five year and 130 by 2035. Japan’s lack of ammunition is a concern for military planners. This problem has been highlighted by Russia’s war in Ukraine. They also stated that stocks of spare parts were low.

According to Nikkei’s report, about 70% of Japan’s military munitions is stored on Hokkaido in Japan’s north. This is a legacy from Cold War planning. Japan was Japan’s military opponent at the time.

Japan sees China as the main threat to its southwest island chain. Tokyo has plans to build supply bases in the southwest of Japan to counter conflict in Taiwan.

($1 = 136.1800 yen)

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami, Tim Kelly. Gerry Doyle, Tomasz Janowski did the editing.

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