History of Japan

Reiwa period
Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako hosted 2021 New Year reception. ©Anonymous
2019 May 1

Reiwa period

Tokyo, Japan

Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne on 1 May 2019, following his father Emperor Akihito's abdication.[103] In 2021, Japan successfully hosted the Summer Olympics, which had been postponed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic;[104] the country secured third place with 27 gold medals.[105] Amidst global events, Japan took a firm stance against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, swiftly imposing sanctions,[106] freezing Russian assets, and revoking Russia's favored nation trade status, a move praised by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as Japan establishing itself as a leading world power.[106]

In 2022, Japan faced internal upheaval with the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 8 July, a rare act of gun violence that shocked the nation.[107] Additionally, Japan experienced increased regional tensions after China conducted "precision missile strikes" near Taiwan in August 2022.[108] For the first time, Chinese ballistic missiles landed in Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), prompting Japan's Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi to declare them "serious threats to Japan's national security."

In December 2022, Japan announced a significant shift in its military policy, opting for counterstrike capabilities and increasing its defense budget to 2% of GDP by 2027.[109] Driven by growing security concerns related to China, North Korea, and Russia, this change is expected to make Japan the world's third-largest defense spender, following only the United States and China.[110]

Last Updated: Fri Oct 20 2023

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