Asia (bbabo.net) - Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has tasked Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada with finding ways to increase Japan's defense budget over the next five years to 43 trillion yen ($315 billion at current exchange rates). This will be about 56 percent more than the current defense spending program, the Asahi Shimbun reported on December 6.
Minister Hamada told reporters that Premier Kishida had informed him that the medium-term defense program, which will run until fiscal year 2027, must reach the specified figure in order to achieve "a radical increase in (Japan's) defense capabilities."
The cost of the current medium-term defense program, which covers the period from fiscal year 2019 to 2023, is about 27.5 trillion yen. Lawmakers from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito (Pure Policy Party) agreed on December 2 that the Land of the Rising Sun should have the ability to strike enemy bases preparing to attack Japan, opening the door to developing long-range missiles, notes the publication.
Cabinet ministers said Prime Minister Kishida has instructed them to develop specific measures by the end of this year so that the authorities can finance such a large increase in the defense spending program.
As reported by bbabo.net, Japan is considering nearly tripling the number of units Self-Defense Forces equipped with ballistic missile interception capabilities in the country's remote southwestern islands by the end of fiscal year 2031.