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Japan’s Defense Ministry to Seek Record ¥7 Tril Budget for FY2024

The Defense Ministry will seek a record-high budget of over 7 trillion yen for the next fiscal year, a source familiar with the matter said Tuesday, a move in line with Japan’s new security strategy to eventually double its annual defense outlays.

The defense spending plan for the year starting April could surpass the current fiscal year’s record 6.8 trillion yen budget if the request is accepted. This increase reflects Japan’s intensifying efforts to address severe security challenges posed by China, North Korea, and Russia.

The upcoming budget request, to be made later in the month, will include funds to accelerate the introduction of homemade, long-range missiles, as the country has vowed to acquire the ability to strike enemy territory, called “counterstrike capabilities.”

As pillars of those capabilities, Japan aims to extend the range of the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Type-12 surface-to-ship guided missiles to 1,000 kilometers from the current 100 km and develop high-speed glide weapons to defend the nation’s southwestern remote islands.

The ministry will also earmark a budget for a plan to build two destroyers equipped with the U.S.-developed Aegis missile interceptor system, the source said.

The Aegis ships are expected to be commissioned by fiscal 2028 as an alternative to a scrapped plan to deploy two land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense batteries in Japan.

Last December, the government updated its three key defense documents, including the National Security Strategy, deciding to obtain the counterstrike capabilities in a major shift in its postwar security policy under the nation’s war-renouncing Constitution.

The three policy papers also set a target of expanding Japan’s annual defense budget to 2 percent of its gross domestic product in fiscal 2027.

Japan had long capped its annual defense spending at around 1 percent of its GDP. The initial defense budget for fiscal 2022 stood at around 5.4 trillion yen.

Fiscal 2023 marked the start of a five-year period intended to fundamentally revamp the country’s defense posture by spending a combined 43 trillion yen.

Source : Japan Today