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Japan Ruling Party Calls for Defense Spending Boost

TOKYO—Japan should aim to nearly double its defense spending over the next five years to 2% of gross domestic product and ease restrictions on arms exports, a ruling-party panel said Thursday, citing threats from China.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had mentioned the 2% level in its election platform last year, but the latest proposal was the first time party policy makers gave a specific time frame, highlighting how the emergence of a Russia-China authoritarian axis has spurred U.S. allies to revise their defense thinking.