Japan’s new five-year defense plan approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet was unveiled on Tuesday. The details have indicated territory and island protection as one of the main security concerns for the country, justifying an increase in the budget allotted for defense equipment, including surveillance drones and creating a Marine Corps-type of unit.
The new defense plan will cost the government an expenditure of 23.97 trillion yen (approx. US$239 billion) within the next five years, a stark contrast with the previous five-year plan drafted under the Democratic Party of Japan, which limited spending at 23.49 trillion yen. But that does not include the purchase of 52 amphibious vehicles, 28 F-35 stealth fighters and three unmanned drones aimed to protect the country’s coastline, which ranks sixth in the world in terms of length. A ground self-defense force unit will be sent to the island of Yonakuni, the westernmost island of Japan, and a new “amphibious unit” to protect and secure islands in imminent danger of invasion is also part of the new five-year defense strategy.
Xinhua, China’s state run news agency, commented that the move is both “unwise” and “dangerous.” “Japan, as a relatively small island country with scarce natural resources, is really unwise to engage in big-power geopolitics and aggression against its neighbors. A dangerous Tokyo that seeks for better warships and missiles is more likely to harm itself than its neighbors,” it said.