Written by Staff Writer, CNN London
The Japanese government unveiled a record defense budget for 2020 this week, rising by almost 1.3 trillion yen ($7.6 billion) to $59.5 billion.
Japan, which is unable to fight a conventional war due to its pacifist constitution, has not changed its defense spending since 1992. The government has stressed the importance of maintaining military readiness and preparedness.
The “Japan Self-Defense Forces,” as the military is referred to, said the budget plans to “protect key targets and facilities, particularly military aviation assets.”
Japan’s Defense Ministry said the budget plan “respects the U.S.-Japan alliance and other important nations.”
The U.S. and Japan hold the world’s largest bilateral defense spending at around $135 billion.
In the recent past, Japan has assisted U.S. forces in military missions in the Middle East. It has also been involved in maritime security and response operations in the South China Sea.
“I think that [U.S. Secretary of Defense] James Mattis was very clear about the importance and necessity of the U.S.-Japan alliance,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said during a press conference Tuesday.
Onodera said Japan would keep boosting its “self-defense capability,” such as enhancing the fleet of F-35 fighter jets, its Coast Guard and surveillance drones, the first of which has recently been deployed.