Japan, seeking arms buildup, makes opaque budget request

Aug 30, 2022, 11:07 AM | Updated: Aug 31, 2022, 5:47 am

FILE - A Japanese Ground-Self Defense Force (JGDDF) Type 90 tank fires its gun while advancing towa...

FILE - A Japanese Ground-Self Defense Force (JGDDF) Type 90 tank fires its gun while advancing towards a target during an annual exercise at the Minami Eniwa Camp Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, in Eniwa, Japan's northern island of Hokkaido. Japan's Defense Ministry made an opaque budget request for the coming year Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022, without specifying the costs of missiles for pre-emptive strikes and dozens of other arms, as well as its development plans, as the government aims to drastically raise Japan's arms capability. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Defense Ministry made a budget request for the coming year Wednesday without specifying the costs of missiles for preemptive strikes and dozens of other weapons as well as its development plans, as the government aims to drastically raise Japan’s military capability.

The ministry said it can disclose details only after the government in December adopts a new national security strategy and defense guidelines. They are being revised to fundamentally strengthen Japan’s military over the next five years.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida promised the military reinforcement to President Joe Biden during his visit to Japan in May as the two countries strengthen their security alliance amid China’s increasing activity in the region. Japan has been also expanding its military cooperation with friendly nations in the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.

Only a partial sum of 5.6 trillion yen ($40.4 billion) was disclosed for 2023, but the ministry’s budget plan could rise to around 6.5 trillion yen ($47 billion), up 20% from this year, Japanese media said.

The final budget bill, expected in late December, will still have to be approved by parliament before the new fiscal year begins in April.

“As we fundamentally strengthen our defense power within the next five years, we need to secure a budget adequate for the first year,” Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told a meeting approving the budget request.

Japan caps annual defense spending at around 1% of its GDP, but Kishida’s governing party proposes doubling it in coming years, citing NATO’s standard of 2% of GDP.

That means Japan’s annual defense spending would rise to about 10 trillion yen ($72 billion), becoming the world’s third-largest after the United States and China.

Ministry officials said aggression like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could occur in the Indo-Pacific region, as Beijing strengthens its military cooperation with Moscow and escalates tension over Taiwan.

China fired five ballistic missiles into waters near Okinawa during Beijing’s major military drills near self-ruled Taiwan in early August, while North Korea’s missile and nuclear development continue provoking the international community, defense officials said.

While the public’s support for a stronger military has grown amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, critics say the opaque request that doesn’t set a ceiling is a bad precedent. They also question if the increase is realistic and say that the government’s plan lacks clarity over how it can fund the spending in a country with an aging and shrinking population.

The defense ministry’s request focuses on seven key areas, including missile strike and defense systems, unmanned vehicles, space and cybersecurity defense.

Japan is upgrading missiles and considering using them for preemptive strikes — a move critics say would fundamentally change Japan’s defense policy and breach the postwar pacifist constitution that limits use of force to self-defense.

The ministry requested an undisclosed amount to improve and mass produce an upgraded Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile to extend its range for use in “standoff” strikes on enemy targets from destroyers and fighter jets.

It plans to buy two kinds of foreign-developed standoff missiles to be launched from warplanes — a 500-kilometer- (310-mile-) range Joint Strike Missile from Norway for F-35A fighters, and Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile with a range of about 900 kilometers (560 miles),for upgraded F-15s.

The ministry also requested an undisclosed amount for development and mass production of a “high-speed gliding vehicle” to defend remote islands, including Okinawa and outer islands near Taiwan.

Japan has shifted its defense from the northeast to southwestern Japan as U.S.-China tension escalates over Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory.

The ministry is seeking money also to develop and construct an offshore landing facility with a connecting jetty on remote islands without adequate ports for warships. It also aims to step up research and development of unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance and enemy strikes to make up for a smaller number of service members.

It also needs funding for a new destroyer with Aegis-radar missile defense system with an expanded capability to shoot down gliding vehicles that could fly five times the speed of sound.

Takahide Kiuchi, a Nomura Research Institute executive economist, said doubling defense spending would require 2% consumption tax hike and a significant cut of social welfare benefits.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Candles are lit on a memorial wall during an anniversary memorial service at the Holy Trinit...

Associated Press

Pain and terror felt by passengers before Boeing Max crashed can be considered, judge rules

Families of passengers who died in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia can seek damages for the pain and terror suffered by victims in the minutes before the plane flew nose-down into the ground, a federal judge has ruled.

21 hours ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI speaks at University College ...

Associated Press

Artificial intelligence threatens extinction, experts say in new warning

Scientists and tech industry leaders issued a new warning Tuesday about the perils that artificial intelligence poses to humankind.

21 hours ago

FILE - Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters on Nov. 13, 2018, in Seattle. A grou...

Associated Press

Hundreds of Amazon workers protest company’s climate impact, return-to-office mandate

SEATTLE (AP) — Telling executives to “strive harder,” hundreds of corporate Amazon workers protested what they decried as the company’s lack of progress on climate goals and an inequitable return-to-office mandate during a lunchtime demonstration at its Seattle headquarters Wednesday. The protest came a week after Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting and a month after a […]

2 days ago


Associated Press

Body of avalanche victim in Washington state recovered after being spotted by volunteer

Search crews have recovered the body of a climber who was one of three killed in an avalanche on Washington's Colchuck Peak in February.

2 days ago

Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

3 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Japan, seeking arms buildup, makes opaque budget request