Japan Seeks Defense Spending Increase to $44B
Japan’s Defense Agency is seeking its first increase in military spending in four years, asking for 4.9 trillion yen ($44 billion) for next year’s budget, representing a 1.2% gain. This past year’s budget had been a 1.0% decline.
Mounting concern in Tokyo about North Korea and China are widely seen as the cause, and the defense budget for the next year includes a number of items DID has noted already in our coverage of the Japanese defense market. Key items include missile defense, naval procurement, and air and land buys.
On the missile defense front, this year’s budget request includes a new three-billion-yen package ($27 million) for joint development with the United States of a sea-based system to intercept ballistic missiles, and 150 billion yen ($1.35 billion) for missile defenses incorporating sea-based SM-3 Standard and land-based PAC-3 Patriot missiles. Given the short flight times from neighbours like North Korea, Japan’s parliament also enacted a law in July 2005 to let the defense chief order the interception of a missile in a crisis without cabinet permission.
The Defense Agency also plans to buy a helicopter carrier, a mine-sweeper and submarines for a total of 182 billion yen ($1.63 billion), six F-2 fighters for 76 billion yen ($682.4 million, and this is reported to be the last batch of the Japanese designed and made F-16C derivative), 11 tanks for 8.9 billion yen ($80 million) and 20 helicopters. The budget requires approval by the finance ministry. See SpaceWar.com for further details, and GlobalSecurity.org for an overview of Japan’s Self Defense Forces.
UPDATE: An August 2006 Reuters article would later put the approved Japanese defense budget for 2006-2007 at YEN 4.49 trillion. This appears to be wrong, in that it doesn’t fit with the figures or trends discussed elsewhere. DID is investigating, and readers with more information are encouraged to email tips@defenseindustrydaily…