Japan passed an economic stimulus package on Friday, Nov. 19 that comprises a supplementary budget of more than 700 billion yen (US $6.12 billion) for defense only, according to Reuters

The extra sum represents approximately 50% over the previous high, set in fiscal 2018, per Reuters. With this addition, the entire defense budget for the fiscal year ending March 2022 is expected to exceed 6 trillion yen, up from 5.34 trillion yen in the initial budget.

Inspired by the predicament of World War II, the country has never invested more than 1% of its gross domestic product (GDP) until now, which is boosted to go at 2% or more before the election on Oct. 31.

This is thought to be the greatest annual defense spending provided in additional budgets, according to Tokyonews.

Tokyonews noted major spending came about as China was extending its military hostilities in the East China Sea and North Korea was boasting more advanced missile capacity. 

The money will be used to buy missiles, patrol planes, transport aircraft, and other. Also, the country was looking to acquire missiles capable of traveling more than 1,000 km (621 miles). The spending would also look at expanding cyber, space, and electromagnetic warfare abilities.

Former prime minister Shinzo Abe said the country was also looking to enhance relationships with Australia, a powerful nation and neighbour that also has an impaired tie with China, and other allies.

“Given the regional security environment which has become increasingly severe, there is a need to elevate Japan-Australia bilateral security and defense cooperation to a new level,” he said in a speech.

The diplomatic effort further involved collaboration with the AUKUS alliance on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. The group, including Australia, the U.K., and the U.S., were formed to address security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

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