Japan’s army has asked for an eighth straight annual increase in defense spending to help pay for U.S.-made interceptor missiles, stealth planes, and different equipment it demands to counter threats from North Korea and China.
The Ministry of Defence budget proposal revealed Friday calls for spending to increase 1.2% to a record 5.32 trillion yen ($50.48 billion) in the year beginning April 1. Finance ministry officers will examine the request before Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet authorizes it.
Already one of the world’s greatest army spenders despite a constitution that prohibits the possession of weapons to attack different countries, Japan has elevated military outlays by a tenth over the last seven years. That growth is being pushed by alarm over military build-ups by its bystanders.
Japan’s spending, much of it on superior weapons from the US, has helped the likes of Lockheed Martin Corp and Raytheon and frightened local contractors like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries who’ve seen their share of defense spending contract.
U.S. President Donald Trump has praised Japan for purchasing the expensive U.S. equipment, serving to reduce criticism of Japan amid trade spats between Tokyo and Washington.
For the subsequent fiscal year, Japan’s defense delegates have asked for 115.6 billion yen to purchase nine Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters, including for the first time six short take-off and vertical touchdown (STOVL) B variants that it wants to operate from plane carriers. That deal will help Japan project army power by increasing the range at which the nation’s Self Defense Forces can function.