Ex-defense minister stresses urgent need for defense budget boost

The Yomiuri Shimbun
From left: Itsunori Onodera, Nobushige Takamizawa and Yoko Hirose speak at a symposium of the 2022 Yomiuri International Forum in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday.

Former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera stressed the need for Japan to increase its defense budget at a symposium of the 2022 Yomiuri International Forum in Tokyo on Thursday.

“Thirty years ago, Japan had an overwhelming advantage, but the situation is now drastically breaking down,” Onodera said of the security environment in East Asia. “We need to boost our defense budget.”

Nobushige Takamizawa, former Japanese ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, Keio University Prof. Yoko Hirose and Onodera exchanged opinions in a panel discussion on security issues and policies that should be addressed while the international order is being shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The meeting was hosted by the Yomiuri International Economic Society and The Yomiuri Shimbun.

“There’s no conceptual domain in cyberspace, thus the concepts of attack and defense are also vague,” said Takamizawa. “We should strengthen security with a completely new approach.”

In June, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit meeting. Applauding the gesture, Hirose said, “We should consider broader forms of cooperation rather than focusing solely on [the partnership] with the United States.”