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Japan approves record defense budget for fiscal 2021 amid China threats

The Japan Times

The government approved Monday a record defense budget for fiscal 2021 totaling ¥5.34 trillion ($51.7 billion), as it seeks to introduce new standoff missiles capable of attacking enemy vessels from outside their firing range amid growing threats from China. The draft budget is up 0.5% from fiscal 2020, including outlays linked to hosting the United States' military bases, and has hit a record high for the seventh consecutive year as the country boosts its ability to deal with China's growing maritime assertiveness and North Korea's missile and nuclear threats. Under the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for the first time, the defense budget has grown for the ninth straight year. Suga has pledged to advance the course set by his long-serving predecessor Shinzo Abe. The Defense Ministry secured ¥33.5 billion for the development of the Japan-made standoff missiles.

Japan seeks record defense budget with spending for new technologies

The Japan Times

The Defense Ministry on Tuesday requested a ¥5.4 trillion ($49 billion) budget for fiscal 2022, aiming to accelerate enhancement of capabilities in new domains and promote the development of new technologies to deal with China's growing military presence. The request would exceed a record ¥5.3 trillion allocated in the initial budget for fiscal 2021 started in April, rising for the tenth consecutive year. It does not include outlays linked to hosting U.S. military bases, which have been about ¥200 billion annually. The ministry said it also left out the cost of upgrading 70 F-15 fighter jets. It aims to install Lockheed Martin's air-to-surface standoff missile and will continue negotiations with the United States to decrease the estimated total cost of ¥398 billion.

Japanese Cabinet OKs record ¥5.19 trillion defense budget to counter North Korea with interceptor batteries, first cruise missiles

The Japan Times

The Cabinet on Friday approved a record-high draft defense budget for fiscal 2018 to beef up Japan's missile defenses against the growing threat from North Korea, breaking the record for the sixth consecutive year.

Japan's additional Aegis ships could encourage further arms buildup

The Japan Times

Japan's decision to build two new naval vessels equipped with Aegis missile interceptors -- an alternative to a scrapped plan to deploy a land-based system -- could prompt further armament by potential adversaries, security experts have warned. On Friday, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga approved deployment of the ships and possible installment of interceptor missiles capable of countering various aerial threats, including cruise missiles. Japan has been concerned about the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region amid a deterioration in U.S.-China relations, seeing Beijing as seeking to change the strategic status quo in the East and South China seas through force and coercion with its increasing military capability. It has been also threatened by North Korea's missile development. With Japan deploying additional ships with the capability to counter airborne threats, "It can be expected to have a certain effect in raising the psychological hurdle for China and North Korea to launch missile attacks," said Tetsuo Kotani, an expert on international security at Meikai University.

Japan to seek record defense budget topping ¥5.4 trillion

The Japan Times

The Defense Ministry will seek another record budget of over ¥5.4 trillion ($49 billion) for fiscal 2022, aiming to beef up its capabilities around remote southwestern islands to counter China's growing naval activities, government sources have said. The request would exceed the ministry's highest-ever ¥5.3 trillion initial budget for fiscal 2021, which started in April, and also reflects an increase in the cost to develop cutting-edge technologies, such as unmanned aircraft using artificial intelligence, the sources said Thursday. The defense budget could further expand, possibly topping 1% of Japan's gross domestic product, when it is finalized in December, as the request excludes outlays linked to hosting U.S. military bases. Japan's defense budget has long stayed at around 1% of its GDP, in light of the country's postwar pacifist Constitution and since the Cabinet decided in 1976 that the outlays should not exceed 1%. The last time the defense expenditure exceeded 1% was in fiscal 2010, when the GDP shrank sharply following the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.