/ Go to the photo bankMax GorbachevAll materialsWrite to the authorThe statement has caused opposition among critics of the government, who argued the authorities should have focused their attention on healthcare and social services as Japan is the world’s fastest ageing country, with a shrinking population.Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has said Tokyo is considering “all options” to boost its defence power amid military buildups by its neighbours – China and North Korea. Among the proposed measures, is the acquisition of so-called enemy base strike capability, the prime minister said.In a speech at a Ground Self-Defence Force base Mr Kishida said the security situation around Japan is “rapidly changing at unprecedented speed” and that “the reality is severer [sic] than ever”.
"Things that used to happen only in science-fiction novels are today's reality", Fumio Kishida said.
The prime minister then touched on North Korea’s “improvement of new technologies such as hypersonic glide weapons and missiles with irregular orbits”, something which Tokyo can’t overlook, Mr Kishida said. Commenting on China, he said Beijing is making “unilateral attempts to change the status quo” and continues strengthening its military “without sufficient transparency”.
His statement comes a day after the government approved record military spending, which has to be green-lighted by the country’s parliament. If approved it will bring Japan’s military budget for the current year to a record high of 6.1 trillion yen ($53.2 billion), a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year. Under the new spending plan, Tokyo will purchase missiles, anti-submarine rockets, and other weapons.
Fumio Kishida’s statement as well as increased military spending has prompted opposition from critics of the government. At issue here is the aforementioned enemy base strike capability, which opponents argue violates Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution that was imposed on Tokyo after the end of the Second World War.
The said article outlaws war as a means to settle international disputes involving the nation and prohibits maintaining an armed force. Thus, although Japan has an army it is de facto a defensive group with no attacking weapons, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons.
Critics of the government also noted that instead of increasing defence spending authorities should have spent more on healthcare and social services as Japan has the world’s fastest ageing population.