Should the world be worried about increased defense spending of the U.S. and its allies?
What is driving it at a time when their economies have been devastated by covid-19 pandemic and should its competitors and enemies get worried or its the beginning of the arms race of the 21st century.
We shall talk about China and Russia’s military spending and their reactions to what’s at stake.
This is a series analyzing increased defense spending of the US and its allies starting with how much Asian Pacific region countries spent on the military in 2020 – 2021 starting with Japan.
Despite, COVID-19 pandemic making economic havoc in Japan, it recently announced one of the biggest military budgets in its military history.
The consecutive ninth rise in military spending approved by a new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government will fund the development of an advanced stealth fighter and longer-range anti-ship missile.
The Ministry of defense will get a record 5.34 trillion yen ($51.7billion) for the year starting in April up 1.1% from this year as Suga continues the controversial military expansion pursued by his predecessor, Shinzo Abe to give Japan’s forces new planes, missiles and aircraft carriers with greater range and potency against potential enemies including the more capable neighboring China.
The new planned Japanese stealth fighter jet will cost about $40 billion each and should be ready by 2030.
It is said that Mitsubishi heavy industries with help from U.S. Lockheed Martin Corp with initial budget of $706 will fund the development of the stealth fighter jet.
Japan will also spend $323 million to begin the development of a long-range anti-ship missile to defend its South-Western Okinawan Island chain.
Japan’s military will also spend $628 million for six Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighter jets including two short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) B variants that will operate off a converted helicopter carrier.
A total of $912 million will be spent to build two compact Warships that can operate with few sailors, easing pressure on a Navy struggling to find new recruits in of the most rapidly ageing nation on earth.
The two ships will also be equipped with powerful new Aegis air and Ballistic Missile Defence Radars that have much as three times the range of older models, if persuade will replace the canceled project in June of building two ground Aegis Ashore station after opposition from China which was worried that it could be used by the US to compromise its security on Mainland and opposition from local people who feared that the new station will have a negative effect on their lives.
The increased military budget seems to be due to China’s Military Modernization plan announced by Xi Jinping.
China aims to modernize its military into a powerful fighting force by 2027 and world-class military power by 2049 as the country marks 100 years since its existence as a nation-state in 1949.
With the threat caused by North Korea and the dispute with China in the East sea Islands and South Korea and not sure if the US is committed to its defense due to the ever-changing chaotic US domestic politics, Japan’s urgency to modernize couldn’t be delayed any further.
Japan is feeling pressure from all angles with COVID-19 cases on the rise, the economy in decline, and an ever Aging population which has forced Japan to turn technology into a solution.
Donald Trump’s push for allied countries to increase their defense spending has also encouraged many countries including Japan.
After Japan announced its military budget, many analysts say that this may trigger arms race in the region with other countries like South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines also increasing their military spending.
China has built the largest medium-range ballistic missiles which many analysts think maybe be behind Japan’s construction of two ships equipped with powerful Aegis air and ballistic missile defence and increased military spending to get prepared in case of military confrontation between the two countries.