Japan Spending Record Amount On Defense

Amid escalating regional tensions due to an assertive China and unpredictable North Korea, Japan’s defense ministry declared on Thursday its intentions to propose a record $53 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This marks a 13 percent year-on-year surge, emphasizing the inclusion of antimissile systems, additional warships, and enhanced maintenance support for a military that had previously neglected these fundamental areas.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, as reported by Reuters, had earlier introduced a significant security strategy, vowing to elevate defense expenditure to two percent of GDP by 2027.

The ministry’s plans involve the construction of two warships equipped with the U.S.-engineered Aegis missile defense system. These vessels, accommodating 240 crew members each, would be capable of launching long-range cruise missiles such as the U.S.-produced Tomahawks and an upgraded model of Japan’s own Type-12 surface-to-ship missile. These ships, scheduled for deployment in 2032, would essentially act as mobile missile platforms. These vessels will also be fitted with the SPY-7 radar, enhancing their ability to detect tricky missile launches, including high-arch trajectories.

In a strategic move, Japan is also looking to invest heavily in the joint creation of interceptors to counter hypersonic missiles.

In a significant policy shift, Japan is considering relaxing its stringent arms transfer policy, which prohibits lethal weapon exports. This shift is seen as an effort to foster alliances with countries sharing similar strategic perspectives in the region.

A tweet from Breitbart News on November 10, 2020, highlighted that Australia is set to partner with Japan in a defense alliance. This collaboration will counterbalance China’s growing military influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The defense ministry also focuses on strengthening Japan’s domestic defense sector, which has traditionally been weak. This strengthening entails hiring 540 new personnel dedicated to equipment development, stemming from the imperative need to design and manufacture defense apparatus within the country.

Japan’s increasing concern is rooted in China’s expanding military goals, particularly the looming threat of a forceful annexation of Taiwan.