Japan Seeks Record $50 Billion Defense Budget With Eye on China | Bloomberg
Japan’s Defense Ministry is seeking a record $50 billion annual budget that would entail the largest percentage jump in spending in eight years as it seeks to bolster its capabilities amid simmering tensions with China.
If granted in full, the 5.5 trillion yen budget request for the year starting in April would amount to a 2.6% increase on the previous year, which would be the largest annual increase since 2014, the ministry said Tuesday.
The total amount could exceed the pacifist nation’s traditional limit of 1% of gross domestic product, if additional annual spending of about 200 billion yen on the realignment of U.S. Forces in Japan is included.
China’s government criticized the record budget request. Japan is “trying to find excuses to justify their decision to increase military spending,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing in Beijing. “China hopes Japan can do things that are conducive to regional peace more than the opposite,” he added.
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told Bloomberg in an interview in June the government would spend what is required, without necessarily maintaining the 1% ceiling. His comments came after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed in a joint statement with U.S. President Joe Biden in April to bolster his country’s defense capabilities.
The following are some of the items on the ministry’s shopping list:
- 84 billion yen ($765 million) on space-related spending, much of it to be used to improve the ability to track objects in space
- 34.5 billion yen to bolster the country’s cyber warfare capabilities.
- 78 billion yen for eight Lockheed Martin F-35A warplanes and 52 billion yen for four F-35B warplanes
— With assistance by James Mayger