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8. JAPAN – $41.6 BILLION    -  Responding to rising tensions in the South China Sea and the increasing threat from North Korea, the Japanese government expanded the nation's defense budget earlier this year. Though the government is keen to maintain Japan's pacifist ethos, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration is planning to invest in anti-missile defense systems and increase the country's military presence on its southern islands.

8. JAPAN – $41.6 BILLION - Responding to rising tensions in the South China Sea and the increasing threat from North Korea, the Japanese government expanded the nation's defense budget earlier this year. Though the government is keen to maintain Japan's pacifist ethos, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration is planning to invest in anti-missile defense systems and increase the country's military presence on its southern islands.

2014 Dec . Japan’s economy suffers a heavier contraction than initially reported for the July-to-September period, revised data show, serving as a bitter reminder to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the nation’s economy remains in the woods two years after he came into office.

2014 Dec . Japan’s economy suffers a heavier contraction than initially reported for the July-to-September period, revised data show, serving as a bitter reminder to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the nation’s economy remains in the woods two years after he came into office.

‘War is over!’ Scuffles in Tokyo as anti-military protesters rally against Abe policy http://sumo.ly/88oI  Aki Okuda, founding member of the protest group Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), shouts slogans during a rally against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security bill and his administration in front of the parliament in Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2015. © Yuya Shino

‘War is over!’ Scuffles in Tokyo as anti-military protesters rally against Abe policy http://sumo.ly/88oI Aki Okuda, founding member of the protest group Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs), shouts slogans during a rally against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's security bill and his administration in front of the parliament in Tokyo, Japan, September 15, 2015. © Yuya Shino

Protesters holding placards shout slogans at a rally against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to expand Japan's military role in front of Abe's official residence in Tokyo, June 30, 2014.

Protesters holding placards shout slogans at a rally against Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to expand Japan's military role in front of Abe's official residence in Tokyo, June 30, 2014.

Could Japan Become America’s New Proxy Army? | "Japan has been shaken by the largest anti-war demos since the late 60s, when millions of students, workers & ordinary citizens turned out to try to block their govt’s collaboration w/the US war in Vietnam. The issue this time is the plan by PM Shinzo Abe to alter a key provision of Japan’s peace constitution to allow Japan’s “Self Defense Forces” to take part in overseas military ops f/the 1st time since WWII." Read/share full article. 7/27

Could Japan Become America’s New Proxy Army? | " Japan has been shaken by the largest anti-war demos since the late 60s, when millions of students, workers & ordinary citizens turned out to try to block their govt’s collaboration w/the US war in Vietnam. The issue this time is the plan by PM Shinzo Abe to alter a key provision of Japan’s peace constitution to allow Japan’s “Self Defense Forces” to take part in overseas military ops f/the 1st time since WWII." Read/share full article. 7/27

Shinzo Abe powerful

Shinzo Abe powerful

An anti-nuclear protester holds a placard depicting a defaced picture of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a rally near the parliament building in Tokyo, Japan, March 11, 2016. © Toru Hanai

An anti-nuclear protester holds a placard depicting a defaced picture of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a rally near the parliament building in Tokyo, Japan, March 11, 2016. © Toru Hanai

South Korean conservative burn a Japanese flag and effigy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a anti-Japan rally in front of the Ja...

Polar vortex grips the U.S. as Americans battle coldest temperatures in decades - slide 61

South Korean conservative burn a Japanese flag and effigy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a anti-Japan rally in front of the Ja...

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