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Opinion

Japan must urgently increase defense spending

The main reason is self-defence, not as a favor to Washington

| Japan
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force fleet review off Sagami Bay, south of Tokyo: something does not add up.   © AP

Elbridge Colby is a principal at the Marathon Initiative. Previously he served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development from 2017-2018, leading the development of the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

Japan needs to spend a lot more on defense. Though relations between Tokyo and Washington are very solid, the simple fact is that America cannot and, if pressed, very likely will not balance China effectively alone. Japan needs to play a much greater role, not as a favor to Washington, but for its own sake.

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