Hundreds protest in Japan against new defense roadmap

Tokyo, Dec 16 (EFE).- Hundreds of people protested outside the prime minister’s office in Japan on Friday against a new defense roadmap that is expected to significantly boost military spending.

The government is scheduled to approve the plan on Friday.

“For the past 80 years after World War II, we have maintained a policy of trying to curb military spending and have renounced force. Now, the government is destroying this policy,” Shigeo Kimoto, one of the organizers of the protest, told EFE.

The 67-year-old said that in the event that Japan decided to get long-range missiles, it could be seen as a threat by China, which could then retaliate.

Tax money “should be spent on improving the country’s standard of living,” he added.

The backlash from the Japanese public comes after the government led by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that it would present some guidelines following two years of discussions marked by confusion about how the increase in defense spending would be financed.

According to security documents leaked to local media, Japan will acquire “counterstrike capabilities” to disable enemy military installations considered a threat to national security.

This point has sparked a debate in the country due to its contradiction to the pacifist constitution, which rejects war as a way to resolve international conflicts.

“I want Japan to remain a peaceful country and avoid escalating the military atmosphere prevailing in the the world,” said another protester, who preferred to remain anonymous.

The guidelines include an increase in Japan’s defense spending between 2023 and 2027 to 2 percent of the gross national product, bringing it at par with NATO member countries and discarding the 1 percent of GDP cap that Tokyo had maintained for decades. EFE


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