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Is Japan Really Cutting Defense Spending?

We've heard a bit in recent days about how Japan's security establishment is drifting to the right - becoming more assertive over its claims to disputed Islands also claimed by Russia and China.

But as Justin Logan points out, nationalist bluster aside, Japan is actually cutting its defense spending. Moreover, in response to the U.S. pivot, China is upping its own defense budget. These are two trend lines moving in the wrong direction.

Of course, the U.S. taxpayer is on the hook, as Logan notes:

So if Japan’s leaders are getting increasingly concerned about security, why are they cutting defense spending? Simple: They believe that they have a defense commitment from the United States that can serve as their deterrent against China.

So when you hear members of Congress rending their garments about sequestration, remember what they are worried about: the prospect that the transfer payments from American taxpayers to taxpayers in places such as Japan may be trimmed.