Japan has signed a deal with the United States to buy 400 long-range Tomahawk missiles as the country ramps up its military capacity.
The defense agreement was inked in Tokyo on Thursday as Japan plans to double its military spending to 2 percent of its GDP ($68 billion) by 2027.
The record military spending would make Japan the world’s third-biggest military spender after the United States and China.
A sale of up to $2.35 billion for two types of Tomahawks, which have a 1,600-kilometre (995-mile) range, was approved by America in November.
Tokyo has been saying that it is facing growing military threats from China and North Korea causing it to increase its military capabilities to counter the threats.
“The conclusion of this signing starts the procurement of the Tomahawk missiles,” a Japanese defense official told reporters after the deal was signed.
“Through sound implementation of the (defense) budget, we will extensively strengthen our defense capacity,” the official added.
Japan has approved a record defense budget worth $56 billion for the next fiscal year from April.
Horrors of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 by the US had made the country adopt a pacifist post-war constitution. Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution renounces war as a right of the state and forbids the country from using force to settle international disputes and from possessing the tools to wage war.
The country is now pivoting away from the decades-old policy of pacifism. Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to make amendments to Article 9 of the constitution were frustrated but he was successful in restructuring the Japanese defense system.
With the East Asian country planning to increase its defense power exponentially, American military contractors are cashing on the opportunity.
At a press conference on Thursday, US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel lauded Japan’s growing military spending.
“As aggressors grow more and more belligerent, Japan is at the forefront of countries rallying to protect peace and prosperity by raising the costs of aggression,” Emanuel said.