The cabinet’s nod for a 20-percent rise in military spending is a deviation from pacifist post-WWII self-defence policy.

Japan will boost its defence budget for 2023 to a record 6.8 trillion yen ($55bn), or a 20-percent increase, in the face of regional security concerns and threats posed by China and North Korea.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s cabinet approved the budget on Friday of a total 114.4 trillion yen ($863bn), from next April

which was pushed up mainly by the hefty increase in military spending and higher social security costs for a fast-ageing population

This is part of a controversial new National Security Strategy that aims to double Japan’s defence spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2027.

The new spending target follows the NATO standard and will eventually push Japan’s annual budget to about 10 trillion yen ($73bn), the world’s third biggest after the United States and China.

The strategy aims to provide Japan with a “counterstrike capability” that can pre-empt enemy attacks and protect itself from growing risks from North Korea, Russia and China