Japan’s Defense Ministry requests largest-ever budget for fiscal year 2023 – The Diplomat

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On August 31, the Ministry of Defense in Tokyo requested 5.59 trillion yen ($40.4 billion) for fiscal year 2023, its largest budget request ever, amid growing security severe around Japan.

The request, a 1.1% increase over the current fiscal year’s original budget, is the 11th consecutive increase under a government led by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Prime Minister Kishida Fumio pledged to “fundamentally strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities over the next five years”.

The budget request, which will be sent to the Ministry of Finance for consideration before a decision at the end of December, includes funding for more than 100 items – such as the development of remote missiles that can be fired from the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF). vehicles, ships and aircraft, as well as the joint development of a next-generation fighter with the UK – with no specific price.

Indeed, the Kishida administration is in the process of revising the country’s three main security policy documents – the national security strategy, the national defense program guidelines and the medium-term defense program – by the end of 2022. So the MoD this time only announced a long list of defence-related demands without specifically disclosing the costs needed for them. The total budget would reach around 6 trillion yen after finalizing the unspecified costs for these items.

With respect to those more than 100 items, the budget request lists seven key pillars of the “necessary efforts to significantly strengthen Japan’s defense capabilities within five years.”

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These are (1) “range defense capabilities,” such as mass production of longer-range missiles; (2) “comprehensive air and missile defense capabilities” to deal with various missiles; (3) “unmanned resource defense capabilities” such as the use of drones; (4) “cross-domain operational capabilities” in space, cyberspace and electromagnetics; (5) “command and control and intelligence functions”; (6) “maneuver and deploy capability” to send troops and supplies to the front line; and (7) “sustainability and resilience”.

The Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) has requested funding to continue its next generation fighter program in partnership with the UK. It plans to start a basic fuselage design of the future fighter from the next exercise after completing the review. of the jet engine demonstrator co-developed under their partnership by the end of this year.

The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has requested funds to purchase six more Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and six more F-35B Lightning multirole fighter aircraft.

He also requested funds to purchase the precision-guided, air-launched joint strike missile developed by Norway’s Kongsberg, which is expected to be fitted to the service’s F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighter aircraft. The JASDF also plans to acquire the AGM-158B Joint Air-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range manufactured by Lockheed Martin for integration into the upgraded F-15Js.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) has requested 3.6 billion yen to continue modifying its two Izumo-class helicopter carriers – JS Izumo and JS Kaga – into aircraft carriers capable of supporting aircraft operations from Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter.

Part of the funds will be used to equip the Kaga with a Landing Navigation System for F-35Bs, which defense officials say is likely the Joint Precision Approach and Landing System (JPALS). ) from Raytheon.

It has also requested funds to purchase six SH-60L anti-submarine patrol helicopters, which are an upgraded variant of its SH-60K naval multirole helicopter developed by ATLA and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The JMSDF has also requested funds to acquire six 1,920-ton class Next Generation Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) in the next fiscal year.

The ministry said these new patrol vessels will specialize in warning and surveillance and can be operated with minimal personnel. In response to a manpower shortage at the JMSDF, Japanese media reported that the new OPVs will only need a crew of around 30, significantly fewer personnel than the Mogami-class frigates, which have a crew of 90 people.

As neighboring China increases the size and capabilities of its naval forces, Japan is strengthening its maritime security, especially to defend the southwestern Nansei Islands, including the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, by strengthening its patrol activities. The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are controlled by Japan but are also claimed by China.

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Meanwhile, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) is working to improve the range of Japanese standoff missiles. It has requested funds to begin mass production of an extended-range version of the domestically developed Type 12 surface-to-ship missile in fiscal year 2023 in a bid to bolster its defense against increasing military activities by China in the East China Sea.

He also asked for funds to continue to conduct research on both the hyper-speed gliding projectile, for the defense of remote islands, and hypersonic missiles, which can cruise at hypersonic speeds (five times or more than the speed of sound).

The JGSDF also plans to introduce unmanned vehicles for the first time that can be used directly in combat, rather than simply for surveillance and intelligence gathering.

To strengthen the country’s cybersecurity, the ministry plans to start offering tax incentives to defense contractors who can help strengthen the country’s cybersecurity measures. It aims to better protect sensitive industry information from attacks by state-sponsored hackers.

Kishida pledged to significantly increase Japan’s defense spending over the next five years by considering “all options” to strengthen defenses, including acquiring the capability to strike enemy bases. But at the same time, he intentionally avoided specifying how much he would increase the Japanese defense budget.

Regarding increased defense spending, he said target numbers should not take priority over determining what is really needed in Japan’s defense.

“As we prepare to acquire what is needed, it will become clear how much a [defense] budget that we need, and then depending on the size of the budget, we will have to think about how to finance it,” he told a press conference on June 21.

On the other hand, the late Abe Shinzo, a former Prime Minister assassinated on July 8, had strongly advocated increasing the national defense budget at NATO level by 2% of gross domestic product. It remains to be seen if and how Abe’s death will affect Kishida’s defense policy by the end of the year.

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