Part of the huge budget would be used to develop new weapons systems, including a hypersonic missile
Japan’s defense ministry has requested more than 5.5 trillion yen ($40.4 billion) for its 2023 budget, the largest in the country’s history. The move comes after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida vowed to “significantly increase” military spending over the next five years.
The ministry unveiled the budget proposal on Wednesday and asked the government to approve 5.59 trillion yen for the next fiscal year. If approved, the figure would surpass last year’s record military budget of 5.4 trillion yen ($38.6 billion).
According to the Japan Times, the budget could eventually rise even further, as funding for as many as 100 different projects has not been specified by the military.
In its request, the Ministry of Defense sounded alarm over alleged threats from China and North Korea and claimed that Beijing “Continues to threaten the use of force to unilaterally change the status quo and deepen its alliance with Russia.”
The budget increase would go toward mass-producing ground-launched cruise missiles, as well as improving the range of its Type 12 missile, the ministry said, adding it would also try to develop a hypersonic missile. While officials did not provide planned specifications for the new weapon, they said it could likely reach mainland China if stationed on Japan’s island chain of Okinawa.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Kishida promised a sharp increase in military spending to prepare Japan for potential conflict after warning that the security situation in East Asia “brittle,” referring to actions by both China and Russia.
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