Japan called China an “unprecedented strategic challenge” in its new defense plan and seeks to arm itself with missiles

The Japanese prime minister, Fumio Kishida (via Reuters) (POOL /)

Japan decided to qualify for the first time China What “unprecedented challenge“, as well as acquire missiles that allow it to execute counterattacks or preventive attacks, according to the new national Defense guidelines that the Government plans to approve this week.

tokyo undertakes its biggest defense turnaround in decades with a new strategy that will set its course in the coming years, which includes an increase in military spending to match the level of NATO countries, and the purchase or development of hypersonic and long-range missiles, among other assets.

The Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, and Natsuo Yamaguchi, the leader of the Komeito party and his partner in the ruling coalition, held a meeting on Tuesday to finalize the three documents that will define the new Defense roadmap, and which arrives surrounded by criticism due to its dubious fit into Japan‘s pacifist Constitution and the greater public spending on weapons.


Tokyo hardens in these documents its qualification of China after the intensification of Beijing’s military activities around the Japanese archipelago and the crisis of the Strait of taiwan.

The mention of these developments as “a matter of grave concern for Japan and the international community” and as “a unprecedented strategic challenge” serves as justification for the reinforcement of the military capabilities planned by Japan and also included in its new Defense guidelines.

Chinese fighters in military exercises around Taiwan (via Reuters)
Chinese fighters in military maneuvers around Taiwan (via Reuters) (EASTERN THEATER COMMAND /)

Japan finds itself in an “increasingly hostile security environment” due to Beijing’s maneuvers, North Korea’s constant missile launches, and Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine, a country with which Japan has territorial and political disputes. with whom relations have deteriorated.

In this stage Tokyo plans to equip itself with “counter-attack capabilities”, as defined in the documents to the ability to hit enemy military installations considered a threat to national security.

According to the details of the documents collected by the local media, this would allow Japan to execute a preemptive offensive against missile launch bases or enemy control centers in case preparations for an attack against Japanese territory are detected.

Pending the final wording of the documents, everything points to a significant shift in Japan’s military capabilities, which until now were limited to its anti-missile shields to shoot down possible projectiles that threatened to hit Japanese territory, among other measures to contain potential attacks.

This initiative has generated a wide debate in Japan due to its potential to violate Japan’s pacifist Constitutionwhich renounces war as a way to resolve international conflicts.

To equip itself with these new capabilities, Japan plans acquire standoff or ranged weaponryamong which the acquisition of US-made Tomahawk long-range cruise missiles and the domestic development of hypersonic missiles, anti-ship missiles and attack drones, among others, stand out as novelties.

Tomahawk missiles
Tomahawk missiles


The documents also include the goal of increase Japan’s military spending between 2023 and 2027 up to 2% of the national gross domestic product (GDP), which would break the ceiling of less than 1% that the country has maintained for decades.

The marked figure rises for that period to 43 trillion yen (about 296,300 million euros), which represents an increase of 50% compared to the previous five years.

The ruling coalition studies several ways to pay for this increaseas rises of the corporate taxes and tobacco taxclippings from other items or issuance of new debt bondsalthough the lack of transparency and the cascade of leaks in this regard have generated confusion and criticism from inside and outside of Kishida’s party.

The Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Yasutoshi Nishimura, asked for caution before addressing tax increases in the current situation, while the head of Economic Security, Sanae Takaichi, stated that she “did not understand” the prime minister’s motives when proposing more fiscal pressure “at a time that could damage the economy.”

These and other voices from Kishida’s Liberal Democratic Party reflect the divergences between various factions within the ruling party and could weaken the position of the prime minister, who is also experiencing a popularity slump.

The final approval of the three documents, called the National Defense Strategy, National Defense Guidelines and National Security Strategy, as well as another proposal for their financing, is expected to take place by the Government Cabinet at the end of the week.

(With information from EFE/By Antonio Hermosín Gandul)

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