Japan’s government is planning a record ¥7.7tn ($53bn) in annual defence spending to expand its fleet and missile capabilities to counter rising military threats from China and North Korea.The budget request on Thursday by the defence ministry includes funding for Aegis-equipped destroyers, new stealth frigates and precision-guided missiles. It is aligned with an ambitious military build-up Tokyo unveiled last year as part of its landmark national security strategy in response to China, which it has called its “greatest strategic challenge”.
The 2024-25 budget represents a 13 per cent rise compared with this fiscal year’s intended spending. It is part of a five-year, ¥43tn plan by Tokyo to strengthen its defence capabilities and bring military spending to roughly 2 per cent of current gross domestic product, compared with the self-imposed cap of about 1 per cent of GDP that Japan has maintained since the 1960s.
The outlays planned for next year include about ¥1.2tn to upgrade Japan’s missile defence capabilities to counter frequent missile launches by North Korea and advances in its military technologies.