Japan’s Defense Budget Hits 1.6% of GDP, Nearing NATO Threshold

Japan’s Defense Budget Hits 1.6% of GDP, Nearing NATO Threshold

Japan’s defense budget for the fiscal year 2024 has expanded to 1.6% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), steadily approaching the 2% threshold required for membership in the NATO military alliance.

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara announced yesterday that military spending for the current fiscal year, ending in March 2025, will amount to 8.9 trillion yen ($56.7 billion). This budget allocation includes 7.7 trillion yen for the Ministry of Defense and 1.2 trillion yen for the Coast Guard and UN peacekeeping operations.

In alignment with three national security documents adopted in late 2022, the Japanese government aims to spend 43 trillion yen over five years until fiscal year 2027.

The increase in military spending is justified by the Japanese government as necessary to address the current tense global security environment. However, Japan has traditionally limited its military spending to not exceed 1% of its GDP, reflecting its commitment to peaceful principles.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, global military spending reached a record high of $2.44 trillion in 2023, marking a 6.8% increase. Despite Japan’s weakened yen, the country experienced the fastest growth in military spending in over 50 years, although it fell one place to 10th in the global rankings.

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