Japan’s defence ministry on Thursday announced it will seek a record $53 billion budget for the next fiscal year on the back of regional tensions driven by an increasingly assertive China and unpredictable North Korea.
The spending jump represents a 13 percent increase year-on-year, adding antimissile systems, more warships and boosting maintenance for a military that long skimped on basic functions.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida last year unveiled a major security overhaul including a pledge to raise defence spending to two percent of GDP by 2027, Reuters reports.
The ministry wants to build two new warships rigged with the U.S.-developed Aegis missile defence system.
The warships, each carrying 240 crew members, would be designed to fire long-range cruise missiles including U.S.-made Tomahawks and a modified version of domestically made Type-12 surface-to-ship missile, planned for deployment in 2032 to serve as something of a floating missile base.
The warships would have SPY-7 radar that could locate harder-to-detect missile launches including those on a high-arch trajectory.
Japan also plans to spend big for a joint development of interceptors to shoot down hypersonic missiles.
Japan’s government is also preparing to ease its arms transfer policy, which currently bans export of lethal weapons, to allow some of them, as it works to build alliances with like-minded regional partners.
Australia will join Japan in a regional defense pact designed to bolster their standing against Beijing’s growing military power and assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. https://t.co/ZYhlX6LwSA
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Due to the need for developing and producing defense equipment at home, the ministry seeks to strengthen Japan’s feeble defense industry and is adding 540 new staff for equipment development.
Japan has been alarmed by China’s expanding military ambitions including the possibility of a violent takeover of the independent state of Taiwan.