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August 25, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Ever since the war, Japan has nominally spent only 1% of its Gross National Product on defence, initially because of American fear of a resurgence of Japanese militarism, latterly solely because of strong popular distaste for anything that might lead to a repetition of the mistakes of the Second World War that resulted in the devastation of Japan – these days, American pressure is all the other way, and Washington regularly urges Japan to shoulder more of the burden of defending the free world: Japanese defence spending is now set to break the 1% barrier the figure is spurious since including war pensions and other benefits, military-related spending broke the 1% barrier long ago – but the prospect of expanding defence spending has encouraged electronics and communications companies, such as Toshiba Corp, NEC Corp and Fujitsu Ltd to start building their resources to emerge as strong defence contractors, ousting such traditional suppliers to the Japanese government as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries; computer-aided missile and communications equipment accounted for 40% of 1987 spending, or more than $4,200m and last year, NEC gained orders for integrated digital communications networks, and lifted its total defence business to $642m, up 26%; Toshiba has been working on with a computerised artillary control system and a digital processing system for anti-submarine reconnaissance; having built a defence research laboratory in 1981, Fujitsu is set to join the fray fray, and even Nissan Motors has expanded its existing space division to cover missiles and military equipment.

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