Extra budget bill includes ¥774 billion for defense spending

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi attends a meeting about improving Japan’s defense capabilities on Friday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The fiscal 2021 supplementary budget bill the government adopted Friday includes ¥773.8 billion for defense spending, the highest amount ever in an extra budget, up about 1.8-fold from the previous record of ¥428.7 billion, set in fiscal 2019.

The Defense Ministry’s budget request for fiscal 2022, submitted earlier this year, totaled ¥5,479.7 billion, including funds for purchasing defense equipment.

Using the fiscal 2021 extra budget, the ministry plans to acquire some of the equipment, including P-1 patrol and C-2 transport aircraft and upgraded PAC-3 interceptor missiles, around three to six months earlier than initially targeted.

The extra budget will also cover costs related to the relocation of a U.S. military base to the Henoko coastal area in Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, from Ginowan in the prefecture.

It is unusual for the ministry to use a supplementary budget for acquiring defense equipment on such a large scale.

The ministry is positioning the fiscal 2021 extra budget and fiscal 2022 initial budget as a “package to accelerate the strengthening of defense capabilities.”

In a joint statement issued at a Japan-U.S. summit in April, Japan expressed its resolve to “bolster its own national defense capabilities to further strengthen the [Japan-U.S.] Alliance and regional security.”

The United States is urging Japan to play a greater role in countering China’s growing hegemonic moves.

In the Oct. 31 general House of Representatives election, the Liberal Democratic Party pledged to aim to increase the country’s defense spending to 2% or more of gross domestic product.