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Global Times

Japan's substantial military budget expansion caters to US request, to meet with China's retaliation once involving Taiwan island

Global Times

By Liu Caiyu Published: Sep 01, 2021 11:08 PM

Japan's defense authority has requested a record budget for 2022, which experts viewed as a move against China and shows Japan's aggressiveness for future military expansion under the cover of cooperating with the US strategy and concerns of Taiwan Straits tensions.

The budget proposal, released by Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday, seeks an annual budget of 5.48 trillion yen ($49.93 billion), a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year and also the fastest hike since 2018, media reported. The ministry also aims to install missiles to strengthen military capabilities around the country's southwest chain of islands near China's Diaoyu Islands.

The plan came after the first-ever security talks between ruling parties of Japan and the Taiwan island last week, which is believed to be a move catering to the US' Indo-Pacific strategy to contain the Chinese mainland.

"Japan's defense spending has been ballooning year by year and this year's budget is reaching the ceiling of remaining defense spending within 1 percent of GDP, revealing the real intention of Japan to develop its own military capability by hyping China's threats," Lian Degui, a professor at the School of Japanese Studies in Shanghai International Studies University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Tuesday slammed Japan for increasing its defense budget for nine consecutive years. By making an issue out of its neighbors at every turn, Japan is merely seeking to justify its military expansion, Wang said.

Japanese politicians had accused the Chinese mainland of "unilaterally changing the regional status quo," which not only "affects the security of the Taiwan Straits, but also Japan's security," Taiwan media reported.

"The hype against China and stirring up regional tensions related to the Taiwan question provides Japan an excuse to beef up its military… Japan's defense budget is expected to remain high as long as the current conservative government remains in power," Lian said.

"Japan needs to constantly hype the "China threat" so it can turn it into public opinion to support revising its pacifist constitution," Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times.

Reuters reported the bills include 130 billion yen for 12 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealth fighters, and 105 billion yen for the development of its first new domestic fighter jet. The budget also includes the building of a new camp on the southwestern Ishigaki Island in Okinawa where it plans to deploy surface-to-air and anti-ship missile batteries and 570 troops, Janes reported.

Song believes US demands for Japan to play a bigger role in regional security are behind Japan's growing defense budget. As an ally of the US, Japan has been acting as a US pawn to pressure China, and the purchase of arms from the US was also part of its plan.

The US-Japan plot is to create the so-called island chain and lay siege to the Chinese People's Liberation Army. But this kind of surface-to-air missile and anti-ship missiles deployment won't be a threat to China. If there had been a military conflict, it is completely ineffective, Song noted.

Chinese experts had warned that Japan's direct involvement in the cross-Straits relations is only the wishful thinking of Taiwan secessionists. Japan will suffer massive retaliation from the Chinese mainland once it intervenes in cross-Straits affairs militarily.

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