The Japanese government, headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, on Friday approved record defence spending, with a 10th straight increase in the 2022 budget. Japan's cabinet has taken this step keeping in mind China's rapid military expansion and North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.
Japan's defence spending, in 2022, is pegged at 5.4 trillion yen ($47.18 billion) which is 1.1% higher than the previous year. However, it is still less than a quarter of China's military budget this year, according to official Beijing data.
In view of the intense regional security environment, the decision to strengthen Japan's defence capability was taken by former Japan PM Yoshihide Suga when he met US President Joe Biden in April this year. China has posed a continuous threat to Japan. Tensions have risen as President Xi Jinping seeks to assert China's sovereignty claims on Taiwan. The Government of Taiwan says it wants peace and would defend itself with full force. Shinzo Abe, former Prime minister of Japan has asserted that any emergency over Taiwan would mean an emergency for Japan, as well as for its security alliance with the US.
The draft budget of Japan includes 128 billion yen for 12 Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 stealth fighters, the defence ministry is also allocating 86 billion yen in next year's budget to develop its first new domestic jet fighter in three decades. The project, aimed to get completed in the 2030s, is being led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. To strengthen defences against cyber attacks, the ministry is also keeping aside 34 billion and 79 billion yen for space-related projects, such as satellites and lasers to track targets beyond the atmosphere.
The draft budget still needs to get passed in parliament.