Japan: Upping the Ante on Defense

Upping the Ante on Defense

The haggling went on through the night last week as Japan's top finance and defense officials debated a perennially sensitive question: whether or not to exceed an informal cap on military spending that since 1976 has been held to less than l% of the country's gross national product. Finally, the ministers agreed on what the government later called an "epochal" solution. They approved a five-year, $76 billion defense spending plan that would involve annual average outlays of 1.038% of GNP.

In the U.S., which currently spends 6.4% of its GNP on the military and where Japan has frequently been accused of...

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