Japan Data

Japan Remains Eighth in Global Military Spending


While Japan has restricted its defense budget to within 1% of its GDP, it is the eighth biggest military spender worldwide.

According to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, military spending rose by 1.1% worldwide in 2017 to a total of $1.74 trillion (¥190 trillion). US spending remained the highest in the world, amounting to $610 billion, or around the same as in 2016. China was second, with a 5.6% increase to an estimated $228 billion. Russia and Saudi Arabia swapped positions in 2017, with the latter jumping to third with $69.4 billion, while a significant 20% decrease brought Russian spending down to $66.3 billion. Japanese spending was roughly the same as the previous year at $45.4 billion, so that it remained the eighth highest spender.

Top 10 Military Budgets by Country

Spending ($ billion) Spending as a share of GDP (%)
1 United States 610 3.1
2 China* 228 1.9
3 Saudi Arabia* 69.4 10.3
4 Russia 66.3 4.3
5 India 63.9 2.5
6 France 57.8 2.3
7 Britain 47.2 1.8
8 Japan 45.4 0.9
9 Germany 44.3 1.2
10 South Korea 39.2 2.6

Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
* Estimated figures.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has set a goal of signatories raising their defense spending to over 2% of GDP by 2024. To date, Japan has implemented an unspoken policy of keeping its defense spending within 1% of its GDP to avoid becoming a military superpower. Out of the top 10 military spenders in the world, Japan is the only one that maintains this 1% limit.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is, however, considering the possibility of raising spending to the same 2% of GDP as other NATO members.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force exercise. © Jiji.)

budget defense