Are Japan’s Best-Known Brands Reluctant to Join Tokyo’s Military Buildup?

Japanese soldiers prepare during an amphibious landing operation with US Forces and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) at the Dawn Blitz 2015 exercise in Camp Pendleton, California on September 5, 2015InternationalIndiaAfricaOleg BurunovLate last year, Japan unveiled its largest military build-up since World War II, with a $320 billion defense budget slated for the next five years. The Japanese government is trying hard to persuade some of the country’s popular brands to ramp up their military production, a UK media outlet has cited unnamed sources as saying.The companies reportedly include Toshiba Corp, Daikin Industries Ltd, Subaru, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Mitsubishi Electric, which “have quietly armed” Japan’s Self Defense Forces (SDF) for decades.As an example, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ military contracts account for only a tenth of its $29 billion in revenue in 2022. The company mainly focuses on manufacturing civilian aircraft components, power plant equipment and factory machines.

The sources claimed that "in a country with an ingrained public sentiment against militarism," boosting defense output is "proving a hard sell for some of its suppliers."

One of the insiders said that the best-known Japanese brands are especially concerned over potential damage to their public image from arms sales, a message that they voiced during their previous meetings with the country’s defense ministry officials.The UK media outlet cited an unnamed official at a “major Japanese defense supplier” as saying that “reputation risk worries” them “a lot.” The official added that “there have been occasions when our Chinese customers have expressed their discomfort when the topic of defense has come up.”The remarks come after Tokyo approved its largest military buildup since the Second World War, warning that China poses the “greatest strategic challenge ever” to Tokyo and referring to an additional regional security threat allegedly emanating from North Korea.Are Japan’s Best-Known Brands Reluctant to Join Tokyo’s Military Buildup?AsiaJapan to Remain Peaceful State Despite Increase in Military Spending: Prime Minister23 January, 08:27 GMTThe buildup is Japan’s new National Security Strategy that aims to double the country’s defense spending to two percent of gross domestic product by 2027, in a departure from its postwar commitment to keep spending at 1% of GDP.Japan will boost its defense budget for 2023 to a record 6.8 trillion yen ($55 billion), or a 20-percent increase, while the country’s military spending for the five-year period starting in April will stand at a whopping 43 trillion yen ($315 billion).


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