The majority of Japanese people are against raising taxes to pay for military expansion, a survey conducted by news agency Kyodo said.
The survey comes as Japan’s government announced its biggest military spending rise since World War Two, pledging $320 billion.
Missile tests by nearby North Korea, China’s claim over Taiwan and the invasion of Ukraine by Japan’s western neighbour Russia have all stoked the fear of war.
Almost 65% of respondents in Kyodo’s survey opposed raising taxes for military spending, while 87% said Prime Minister Kishida’s explanation of the need to raise tax was insufficient.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida this month said his government would not hike taxes for the next fiscal year beginning April 1 but would raise them in stages toward fiscal 2027 to secure funding to boost the defence budget.
He said Japan was at a “turning point in history” and that military expansion through cost-cutting and tax hikes was “my answer to the various security challenges that we face”.
The survey also showed support for Kishida’s administration was unchanged from a month earlier at 33.1%, the worst since it was launched in October last year.
The government’s five-year tax plan, once unthinkable in pacifist Japan, would make the country the world’s third-biggest military spender after the United States and China, based on current budgets.
- Reuters, with additional editing from Alfie Habershon