Japan Defense Ministry Seeks ¥930 Billion for Ammunition; Cutting-Edge Missile Development Also in Budget

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A Self-Defense Forces vehicle carries ammunition to the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Ishigaki in Okinawa Prefecture in March.

The Defense Ministry has included ¥930.3 billion for securing ammunition in its fiscal 2024 budget request, aiming to strengthen Japan’s ability to fight for a long period of time.

It also requested ¥2.35 trillion for maintenance and improvement to maximize the use of equipment. The ministry is to drastically beef up its defense capabilities with a Taiwan contingency in mind.

“We must keep implementing necessary projects steadily and speedily in the next fiscal year, which is the second year of our effort to drastically boost Japan’s defense capabilities,” Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Thursday at a ministry meeting.

The budget request includes ¥379.7 billion for the construction of two Aegis-equipped ships, with the first to be commissioned in fiscal 2027 and the second in fiscal 2028, as well as ¥75 billion for Japan-U.S. joint development of a new type of missile that can intercept hypersonic glide vehicles at the gliding stage. The missiles are expected to be installed aboard the Aegis-equipped ships.

Steady progress will also be made in the development and acquisition of long-range missiles that are essential for counterattack capability, such as allocating ¥32 billion for the development of new surface-to-ship and surface-to-surface precision guided missiles.

Regarding organizational structure, a permanent joint headquarters will be established in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district at the end of next year to centrally command all three branches of the Self-Defense Forces. The ministry will also establish a SDF maritime transport unit to deploy joint forces flexibly in the southwestern region of the country.