Europe and Asia-Pacific Accelerating the Global Arms Race

The latest arms trade statistics from Stockholm-based research institute sipri shows that European nato countries and the West’s Asia-Pacific allies have increased their large-arms imports more than any other region in recent years.

  • Imports by European nato countries increased by 65 percent from 2018 to 2022 compared to 2013 to 2017.
  • Arms imports in the Asia-Pacific region also increased dramatically: Japan saw a 171 percent increase; South Korea, 61 percent; Australia, 23 percent.
  • At the same time, overall global arms transfers decreased by 5.1 percent.

Even as arms transfers have declined globally, those to Europe have risen sharply due to the tensions between Russia and most other European states. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European states want to import more arms, faster. Strategic competition also continues elsewhere: Arms imports to East Asia have increased and those to the Middle East remain at a high level.
—Pieter D. Wezeman, senior researcher with the sipri Arms Transfers Program

Learn more: Read our Trends articles “Why the Trumpet Watches Europe’s Push Toward a Unified Military” and “Why the Trumpet Watches Japan’s March Toward Militarism.”