Leadership: Japan Responds To China

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August 31, 2016: Japan is increasing its defense spending again for 2017, to $51 billion. Japanese defense spending declined after the Cold War ended in 1991. But in 2013 that changed and every budget since then has increased. In 2015 Japan had its highest ever defense budget ever ($42 billion). Now that has been increased nearly 20 percent for 2017. Most of this is to buy new weapons and upgrade existing ones to improve defense again Chinese or North Korean attack. While the top three spenders are now the United States, China and Saudi Arabia, Japan was usually in the top ten and remains there even through most everyone in South Asia and points east. Since 2010 China, India and Japan are all increasing their already large budgets.

In the last decade the United States has cut spending about four percent (to the current $595 billion) while China’s more than doubled (to the current $214 billion). Russian spending plans had to be reduced because of low oil prices and other economic problems, Thus Saudi Arabia moved past Russia and is now spending $87 billion a year. India is spending more each year and at its current $54 billion has passed France ($51 billion) and is about to surpass Britain ($55 billion.) After more than a decade of cuts European spending went up over one percent in 2015, mainly because East European nations are spending a lot more to deal with a growing threat from Russia. Even Germany is now increasing spending to deal with the Russian threat.

A major factor in the static global spending is that by 2010 a decade of heavy defense spending, to replace a lot of the elderly Cold War era equipment was largely completed. Also ending, especially for the United States, were expensive war on terror operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. military, especially the army and marines, used the demand for new weapons and equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan as an opportunity to replace a lot of aging Cold War gear. The air force and navy did not do as well and now, with American defense spending shrinking, there will be fewer American warplanes and warships because the money and popular support for replacing a lot of the Cold War era warships and aircraft is not there.

 


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