Japan Defence and Security Report 2015
BMI View: We expect that, despite a slight decrease in 2015, Japan's defence budget will continueincreasing in absolute terms over the next five years but to remain accounting for a mere 1% of GDP. Thiswill be driven by landmark constitutional changes which took place in 2014, especially on Article 9 of thecountry's constitution. This development has opened up Japanese defence firms to international markets asthey are now able to export defence systems and cooperate on joint ventures with foreign partners. Inaddition, these constitutional changes have edged Japan towards military normalisation, paving the way fora more active role in regional security.
Japan's geopolitical situation in the Asia Pacific region presents two main characteristics. Firstly, tensionswith China have been rising in the past few years especially in regards to conflicting claims over theSenkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. This is coming at a time when the threat from North Koreais also slowly increasing, raising significant concerns in Japan and amongst other countries in the region.
Within this tense regional context, Japan's 2015 Defence White Paper has put significant emphasis on theimportance of increasing and upgrading the capabilities and equipment of its Self-Defence Forces (SDF) inorder to be able to meet these and other new security concerns. Within this framework, Shinzo Abe'sgovernment has also been pushing for new bills that go against the country's Peace Constitution, trying toexpand the role of the SDF to overseas military interventions for the purpose of peacekeeping.
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