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Japan strengthens its military potential

The ministry of defense is requesting for $52.5 billion for a second year of Japanese rapid military buildup, according to The Independent.

Threats from North Korea, as well as Chinese military advancement, led to the need for Japan to strengthen the country’s armed forces.

As a result, the Ministry requested an increase in funding of almost 12%.

Within the scope of the budget, it is planned to expand the fleet by two warships equipped with long-range cruise missiles.

A year ago, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government approved a new security strategy in December. It involves reinforcement of military potential at an accelerated pace over 5 years. In this regard, an unprecedented request for 7.7 trillion yen (52.5 billion dollars) was submitted for 2024.

Japan is gradually moving away from the post-war principle that the army should exist solely for self-defense. Now the main emphasis is on increasing striking power.

According to the five-year plan, Japan intends to become the world’s third-biggest military spender after China and the United States. Tokyo plans to allocate 43 trillion yen ($31 billion) by 2027. At this rate, the country’s military spending will almost double, reaching 10 trillion yen ($68 billion).

However, the Government faces an uneasy task: it has to justify an increase in military spending in the face of an acute decline in the birth rate and a tangible increase in the cost of caring for the elderly.

The budget request was approved at the defense ministry meeting taken place on Thursday and submitted to for negotiations to the Ministry of Finance.

The two warships are expected to become a floating missile base, which will be able to carry 240 crew members, as well as long-range cruise missiles such as the American Tomahawks and an improved version of the Type-12 surface-to-ship missile.

The vessels would be also equipped with SPY-7 radar capable of spotting launches of missiles – even those harder to detect due to high trajectories. Japan has already attempted to equip the SPY-7, but refused to use radars on the land, as this threatened the security of the regions where they would have been installed.

As for the existing destroyers, the Department of Defense plans to upgrade them to carry 400 Tomahawks, which will be purchased in 2026-2027 for 321 trillion yen ($2.2 billion).

To protect the southwestern islands, a possible frontline in case of Taiwan emergency, Tokyo plans to spend 755 billion yen ($5.17 billion), which is reflected in the 2024 budget request.

The ministry also requested about 80 billion yen ($547 million) for the development and production of hypersonic-guided missiles.

The government also hopes that planned joint development of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industry next-generation fighter jet with the U.K. and Italy will help to boost Japan’s defense industry. For this project, the Ministry is requesting 72 billion yen ($490 million).

The government plans also include the establishment of a new maritime transport division in 2025. It will combine the military, naval and air forces, which will be located in Kure, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

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