Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged, during his meeting with US President Joe Biden, on Monday, a “significant increase” in Japan’s defense budget.
The draft, a long-term economic blueprint that is updated annually, does not provide details on spending, but states for the first time that “there have been unilateral attempts to forcibly change the status quo in East Asia, making regional security even more deteriorating”.
The draft also did not specify security threats in the region, but those responsible for Japan’s military policy have repeatedly expressed concerns about China, which has a long-running regional dispute with Japan, as well as North Korea.
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called Thursday for defense spending of nearly seven trillion yen ($60 billion) for the next fiscal year, up from 5.4 trillion yen in this year’s initial budget, in light of China’s rising military spending and missile threats from Korea, Nippon TV reported. North.
Kishida did not say how much he wants to increase military spending for the fiscal year, which begins in April 2023.
Increased defense spending will strain Japan’s already dire public finances.
The lower house of parliament on Friday approved an additional budget of 2.7 trillion yen, funded by bond yields, to ease the economic burden on households and businesses caused by rising fuel and raw materials costs. The Senate is expected to approve the budget next week.
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