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Japanese defense report sounds alarm against Russia and threatens Taiwan

#Japanese #defense #report #sounds #alarm #Russia #threatens #Taiwan

Japan’s defense ministry on Friday said it was alarmed by new threats from Russia and had growing concerns about Taiwan, in an annual report released as Tokyo weighs sharply rising military spending.

The document includes a chapter on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it says risks sending the message “that an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force is acceptable.”

The paper examines the global security landscape and specific threats to Japan, saying there are concerns Russia may “further improve and deepen ties with China.”

It also warns that Moscow could increasingly rely on its nuclear capabilities as a deterrent, which in turn could lead to a surge in activity in Japan, where Russian nuclear submarines are routinely active.

Japan has supported sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Moscow and has seen increased Russian military activity on its territory.

In May, immediately after a meeting of the US-led Quad grouping in Tokyo, Chinese and Russian military jets conducted joint flights near Japan.

The defense paper also devotes considerable space to Taiwan.

It provides the most detailed overview of the island’s security situation to date, noting that “Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Taiwan has been working to further step up its self-defense efforts.”

This year’s paper was released amid growing expectations that Japan will significantly increase defense spending.

While defense budgets have been rising for years, Japan still has the lowest ratio of military spending to gross domestic product (GDP) among the Group of Seven countries.

Kishida has publicly backed an increase in spending, and his ruling party has a long-term goal of a defense budget of 2 percent of GDP, although experts say hitting that number quickly could be difficult.

Japan’s military is not officially recognized in the country’s post-war constitution, and spending is limited to funding nominal defense capabilities.

The report goes on to describe China as a “strong security concern,” adding that the risk posed by Beijing “has increased in recent years.”

Similarly, it reiterates that North Korea continues to pose “serious and imminent threats” that are also “intensifying.”

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