Japan Data

Japan Ranks Ninth in Global Military Spending in 2020

Economy Politics

Worldwide annual military spending in 2020 was $2.0 trillion (¥213 trillion). Japan’s spending accounted for 2.5% of that amount with $49.1 billion (¥5.3 trillion), placing ninth globally.

A Stockholm International Peace Research Institute survey regarding global military spending in 2020 found that Japan’s military budget was $49.1 billion (¥5.3 trillion), ranking ninth for the second year in a row. Worldwide spending rose by 2.6% to an estimated $2.0 trillion (¥213 trillion), the highest on record since the start of regular collation of figures in 1988.

The United States came top with $778 billion, followed by China with an estimated $252 billion and India with $72.9 billion. In fourth place and below were Russia, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, and South Korea. The ranking of the top 10 military budgets in 2020 showed minimal change from 2019. Meanwhile, overall spending for the top 15 countries was $1.6 trillion, accounting for 81% of the total.

Top 10 Military Budgets by Country

Ranking 2020 ($ billion) 2019
1 United States (778) United States
2 China (252; estimated) China
3 India (72.9) India
4 Russia (61.7) Russia
5 Britain (59.2) Saudi Arabia
6 Saudi Arabia (57.5; estimated) Britain
7 Germany (52.8) France
8 France (52.7) Germany
9 Japan (49.1) Japan
10 South Korea (45.7) South Korea

Created by Nippon.com based on data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In 1988, Japan’s military spending stood at ¥3.7 trillion. However, in 1990 it reached the ¥4 trillion mark and continued to rise throughout the 1990s. From the 2000s, it stabilized around ¥5 trillion. In recent years though, it has been gradually rising and in both 2019 and 2020 reached ¥5.2 trillion.

Japan’s military spending as a share of GDP has consistently remained at around 0.9%–1.0% from 1988 up to 2020. Worldwide in 2020, military spending accounted for 2.4% of GDP. Among the top-spending nations, United States had 3.7%, China an estimated 1.7%, and India 2.9%.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force conducts live firing exercises at the JGSDF East Fuji Maneuver Area in Shizuoka Prefecture in August 2019. © Jiji.)

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