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Interview

Japan should triple defense budget 'immediately': Elbridge Colby

Ex-Pentagon official says Beijing has incentive to weaken Tokyo as regional rival

Elbridge Colby says Japan needs to anticipate what China will aim to do if it succeeds in taking Taiwan by force. (Photo by Ken Moriyasu)

TOKYO -- If China takes Taiwan by force it will be on Japan's doorstep, making U.S. defense of its ally increasingly difficult, a former Pentagon official said in an interview.

Therefore Tokyo needs to triple its defense budget "immediately," said Elbridge Colby, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy and force development under President Donald Trump. The alternative would be to allow Chinese domination of the region, in which Beijing will likely seek to subordinate and demote Japan's status as the only country in East Asia that can challenge it, he said.

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