The request made today must be approved by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and would mark a new record figure. Most of the budget will be allocated to the development of the latest generation of weapons. The aim is to deter Beijing from military action to resolve territorial disputes.
Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Japan's Defense Ministry has requested a budget of 5.4 trillion yen (41.6 billion euros) for 2022 with the aim of developing new technologies and countering Chinese military activism. The request exceeds the previous one of 5.3 trillion made for 2021 and is the highest ever. It will have to be reviewed by the Ministry of Finance and then approved by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The figure does not include expenses related to U.S. bases in Japan, and expenses for upgrading 70 F-15 fighter jets to which new missiles are to be installed.
The Defense Ministry reported that most of the budget is allocated to research and development of the latest technologies, such as unmanned aircraft operated using artificial intelligence. Special attention will also be paid to the development of technologies for the defense of cyberspace and outer space.
The Japanese authorities have then specified that a part of the funding will be used for the purchase of small or medium-sized ships for the defense of the Senkaku islands (Diaoyu for the Chinese) in the south-west of the country. Tokyo and Beijing have been claiming control of the rocky outcrops in the East China Sea for years. According to Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, new missile units will be placed on Ishigaki Island to strengthen defense capabilities around the Senkaku/Diaoyu.
Last year, Japan identified China as the main threat to its national security, highlighting in a document the "sense of crisis" that Beijing's threats also provoke against Taiwan.
However, China's defense budget has increased by 6.8% in the last year: it is four times that of Japan and is second only to that of the United States. Consequently, Tokyo's strategy is to grab the most modern equipment to dissuade Beijing from any kind of military action in the region.