After almost 80 years of essentially not having a military, on Friday, Japan announced a $320 billion plan to build up its deterrence in the face of rising tensions with China.
Japan's military buildup would take 5 years to complete under the current plan. Its planned military expenditures would make it the third largest country behind the United States and China in terms of its budget. The plan calls for expanding the country's transport capacity, developing cyber warfare capabilities, and stockpiling munitions and spare parts.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries will spearhead the development of Japan's longer-range missiles and will also build the country's next fighter jet in conjunction with BAE Systems and Leonardo SPA. The fighter jet project has already received an allocation of $5.6 billion.
Also included in Japan's buildup are ship-launched U.S. Tomahawk cruise missiles, attack and reconnaissance drones, interceptor missiles, helicopters, F-35 stealth fighters, satellite communications equipment, warships, heavy-lift transport jets, and submarines.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that Japan is at a "turning point in history" and the military buildup is "my answer to the various security challenges that we face."
Japan has expressed growing concern in recent months that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will set a precedent that will support China's attacking Taiwan. Japan recently flagged China as a "strategic challenge" in its most recent national defense document and updated its national defense policy with major revisions for the first time since 2013.