Japan actually reduced defence spending over 10-year period
Regarding your editorials on the region (“Taiwan and Japan are playing with fire”, March 30) and (“East Asia does not need an arms race”, April 2), allow me to clarify the facts, and Japan’s stances and efforts.
The editorials mentioned that Japan’s defence spending will be increasing with its “fifth consecutive annual rise”. However, I would also like to draw readers’ attention to the figures in your editorial that China increased spending by “7 per cent” while Japan increased it only “1.4 per cent”.
I hope readers could understand the nature of this issue. In fact, Japan’s defence expenditure decreased annually for 10 years until 2012, and has risen only 1 per cent over the past 10 years from 2006 to 2016, in sharp contrast to China’s increase of over 240 per cent in the same period.
Regarding Taiwan, Japan’s basic position has not changed. Japan-Taiwan relations have been maintained as working relations on a non-governmental basis.
Since the end of the second world war, Japan has not only sincerely faced history but has also steadfastly walked the path of peace, and contributed to the peace and stability of the international community.
As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated on the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war: “We Japanese, across generations, must squarely face the history of the past. We have the responsibility to inherit the past, in all humbleness, and pass it on to the future ... we remain determined never to deviate from this steadfast course [of peace].” We are committed to contributing to the peace and prosperity of the region.
Sugita Masahiko, director for public relations and cultural affairs, consulate of Japan in Hong Kong