Japan eyes 40-43 tril. yen in 5-year defense spending

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The main gate of the Defense Ministry is seen in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government and the ruling camp are considering earmarking ¥40 trillion to ¥43 trillion in defense spending over the five years from fiscal 2023, which starts next April, government sources said Thursday.

The sum will be spelled out in the government’s next medium-term defense program covering the five years, the sources said. The amount is far larger than about ¥27.47 trillion set under the current five-year program from fiscal 2019.

The Defense Ministry claims that Japan needs ¥48 trillion in defense spending under the next program in response to the severe security situation surrounding the country. By contrast, the Finance Ministry is seeking to curb defense expenditures to maintain fiscal discipline.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed his finance and defense ministers Monday to increase the country’s defense spending, including research and other related expenditures, to 2% of its gross domestic product in fiscal 2027.

An advisory panel to the government in November called for tax increases to fund a boost in defense spending. Many members of Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic are calling for issuing additional government bonds as a temporary measure.

The medium-term defense program does not cover research and development costs outside of the Defense Ministry. The government is set to adopt the next program later this month.