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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022

Japan, eyeing military build-up, hosts Israel’s Benny Gantz

Japan, eyeing military build-up, hosts Israel’s Benny Gantz

Israel predicted increased defense exports to Japan on Tuesday as the Asian economic powerhouse signals intent to boost military spending amid more assertive Chinese conduct in the region.
Tokyo has been reviewing post-World War Two caps on its armed forces budget amid growing concern Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will embolden China to threaten neighboring self-ruled Taiwan, an island it claims as its own.

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party wants to double defense spending to 2 percent of GDP, which would make Japan’s military budget the world’s third-biggest.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz noted the shift in Japanese policy as he wrapped up a two-day visit to Tokyo with the signing of a bilateral defense cooperation memorandum.

“There will be real-world ramifications to this, both on the military level and in research and development, and also on the level of defense industries down the line,” he told reporters.

Gantz did not elaborate. Israeli defense attaché Alon Yehoshua said Japan had voiced special interest in cooperating on cyber technologies.

In a separate briefing, a Japanese defense ministry official said Gantz and his hosts had “agreed to continue looking at ways that the two countries can cooperate in defense” but that they had not discussed any specific projects or procurement deals.

Israeli defense exports reached a record $11.3 billion in 2021, according to the Times of Israel news site. This made Israel the world’s 10th-biggest defense exporter, the site reported, citing findings by a Swedish monitoring group.

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