According to Reuters, a senior Japanese lawmaker of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said on Sunday that Japan needs to increase its military spending in response to the “grim reality” of the threat from the Chinese regime. 

Visiting Taiwan and speaking at a forum on Japan-Taiwan relations, Koichi Hagiuda, the LDP’s policy chief and a former minister, warned of threats from China and North Korea. 

Koichi Hagiuda said Japan has “walked the path of peace” since the end of World War 2, and it will not change that path in the future. He noted, “However, just reciting the word peace is of course not enough for our peace to be protected.”

The news outlet reported that Hagiuda cited China’s massive military spending and North Korea’s missile tests for Japan to raise its military budget.

Japan announced it would lift next year’s defense spending to 2% of the country’s gross domestic product within five years from the current 1%.

In dollar terms, Japan’s annual defense budget for 2023 will be over $80 billion from $40 billion currently, making it the world’s third-largest military spending after the United States and China.

He stressed the importance of boosting Japan’s defense capabilities to protect lives and peace, which must be carried out immediately, not within five years.

Hagiuda added, “In the face of such a grim reality, half measures have no meaning at all.”

Japan and Taiwan share the same concerns over China’s recent military aggression, even though the two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations.  

In response to fending off Beijing’s pressure, Taiwan has strengthened its forces by raising its defense budget. The U.S. also helped Taiwan to achieve this goal. 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation last week to authorize up to $10 billion in funding in the next five years to increase security cooperation with Taiwan. The actions would help the island fend off Beijing’s pressure.

Last week, the U.S. State Department also greenlighted the sales of aircraft parts worth up to $428 million to Taiwan to improve its Air Force in the face of China’s threat.

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