German Chancellor Olaf Scholz begins a two-day visit to Japan today to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s growing
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz begins a two-day visit to Japan today to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s growing regional influence.
During his term, Scholz has emphasized deeper cooperation with Indo-Pacific democracies. His visit aims to highlight the G-7 countries’ unity ahead of the upcoming G-7 summit in June, which Germany will host as current rotating chair. Japan will take over the chairmanship in 2023.
Japan, which recently recorded its widest trade deficit in eight years and just saw Japanese yen fall to a six-year low against the US dollar, will likely try to strengthen ties with Germany—and boost its own economy—by proposing to increase trade. Japanese exporters would support this move, especially as the weak yen increases their overseas profits when money is repatriated from Europe.
Japan faces growing pressure to increase its military spending to bolster its own deterrent power against China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan may decide to purchase defense equipment from Germany for surveillance and to neutralize its air defense network. Japan will likely aim to raise its defense budget to at least 2 percent of GDP in the next five years, on par with the defense spending goal of NATO.
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