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Japan reveals the largest defense budget for 2016

Posted August. 03, 2015 07:17,   


Japan’s defense budget for next year will likely surpass 5 trillion yen (40.2 billion U.S. dollars) for the first time, and hit an all-time high. As the Shinzo Abe administration cut welfare spending to reduce fiscal deficit, but rather increased defense budget, the measure is expected not only to earn resistance among Japanese people but also to spark arms race in Northeast Asia.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said on Sunday that the Japanese defense ministry will submit to the treasury ministry a budget plan demanding over 5 trillion yen (40.2 billion dollars) in defense spending for 2016 (April 2016 – March 2017) within this month.

If more than 5 trillion yen is fixed this time, it will be the largest defense budget ever. Japan’s defense spending peaked at 4.9557 trillion yen (39.8 billion dollars), the all-time high, during the Junichiro Koizumi administration in 2002, but was constantly declining, before it increased for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015, after the inauguration of the Abe administration. The budget is thus poised to increase for four consecutive years including next year. Korea had a defense budget amounting to 37.456 trillion won (31.9 billion dollars) last year, which is about 10 trillion won (8.5 billion dollars) less than that of Japan.

The Japanese defense ministry demanded a budget of over 5 trillion yen this time due to a reshuffle of defense laws and regulations that have been instituted for the country to exercise its self-defense right. The budget reflects the expense for introduction of a modern, aerial tanker designed for its Self-Defense Forces to provide backup assistance to the U.S. military, and the cost for construction of an aegis destroyer armed with a state-of-the-art missile interceptor system, which has been included again following 2015. The budget also includes expenses to introduce U.S. military equipment including next-generation stealth fighter F-35, and V-22 Osprey STOL (short takeoff and landing) transport airplanes. Notably, the defense ministry reflected in its budget the expenses to purchase 17 units of the SH-60K helicopter and the unmanned reconnaissance plan Global Hawk that the Self-Defense Naval Forces use to survey waters to block China from making maritime advance.

The Japanese government is also considering allowing its defense contractors to purchase foreign weapons manufacturers. The Tokyo Shimbun said on Sunday, “The Japanese government will change its stance on takeover of foreign weapons manufacturers from ‘strictly deter’ to ‘determine according to situations.’ As Japan has effectively discarded its "three principles of weapons export" including ban on weapons export to communist countries last year, Tokyo is apparently seeking to promote its defense industry.