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Japan Approves Additional $6.84 Billion Defence Spending for 2021

Additional Funds Focused on Strengthening JSDF Capability

Japan is set to add an additional 773.8 billion yen ($6.84 billion) in funding to its already record-high defence budget of 5.34 trillion yen for FY2021, amid Tokyo’s concerns over growing security risks in the Indo-Pacific region.

Approved by the cabinet on 26 November, the supplementary ‘Defense Strengthening Acceleration Package’ will increase defence spending in FY 2021, which ends in March, by almost 15% over FY2020.

Outlining the reasons behind the additional budget, Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said that neighbouring countries “are now making significant increases in defence spending to bolster their military power”.

He noted the security environment around Japan is “changing at an unprecedented rate and is becoming increasingly severe”. Under such circumstances, he argued, “it is necessary to further accelerate the implementation of various projects stipulated in the current Mid-Term Defense Program [for fiscal years 2019–23] and strengthen [Japan’s] defence capabilities”.

The extra funds will be mainly used to strengthen the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF), with a particular focus on countering the rapidly-expanding military capabilities of, for example, China and North Korea.

For instance, the supplementary budget earmarks 97.8 billion yen to enhance JSDF air and missile defence systems, particularly in the country’s southwestern islands; 44.1 billion for procuring PATRIOT PAC-3 MSE interceptors and related support equipment; and 10.3 billion for the acquisition of surface-to-air missiles to protect JSDF bases from cruise missile attacks.

According to the MoD, the additional budget also allocates 65.8 billion yen to acquire three more P-1 maritime patrol aircraft; 24.3 billion to buy another C2 transport aircraft; 25.4 billion for an additional 13 new UH-2 multirole helicopters; 8.4 billion for additional AAM-4B mid-range and AAM-5B short-range air-to-air missiles for deployment on F-2 and F-15J/DJ multirole fighter aircraft; and 21.7 billion to procure Type 12 short-range and Type 18 long-range torpedoes, as well as mines and anti-submarine rockets.

Moreover, 4.1 billion yen have been earmarked for the construction of a new garrison on southwestern Ishigaki Island, located near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.

These latest developments come as the MoD requested a defence budget of 5.48 trillion yen for 2022 in late August – a request due for parliamentary approval by year-end.

Gabriel Dominguez reporting for MON

The supplementary budget request includes funds for three more P-1 maritime patrol aircraft. (Photo: Japanese MoD)

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