LDP commission mulls stronger wording regarding China, Russia in defense documents

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo

A Liberal Democratic Party commission plans to call for stronger wording to be used regarding Russia and China when the government revises three defense documents at the end of the year.

The documents to be revised are the National Security Strategy, the National Defense Program Guidelines and the Mid-term Defense Program.

Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s military rise, the LDP Research Commission on Security led by former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has included the proposal in a draft of recommendations.

The current National Defense Program Guidelines state that China is “a serious security concern for the region including Japan and for the international community.” The guidelines also state that “Russia’s military activities are trending upward … Close attention therefore needs to be paid to its developments.”

In the draft recommendations, the LDP commission calls for China to be described as a threat to Japan’s security, as is the case with North Korea, and also calls for stronger wording regarding Russia.

The commission will recommend stipulating in the defense documents the possession of capabilities to destroy missile bases and other enemy facilities for self-defense purposes, and calls for wording that reflects the fact that such capabilities are an exercise of Japan’s right to self-defense.

It will also recommend renaming the National Defense Program Guidelines the “National Defense Strategy,” the same name the United States uses for a similar document. The commission has also proposed a new name for the Mid-term Defense Program, recommending flexible and swift changes to the program in response to international circumstances.

The commission will also recommend increasing defense spending, aiming for 2% or more of gross domestic product. The defense budget has increased for 10 consecutive years, with a record ¥5.4 trillion allocated in this year’s budget. However, the figure represents 0.957% of GDP.