24 August 2017

News Story: Record 5.2 tril. yen defense budget sought amid N. Korea concerns

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese Defense Ministry plans to seek a record-high budget of 5.26 trillion yen ($48.1 billion) for fiscal 2018 as the country seeks to beef up its missile defense capabilities in the face of growing missile threats by North Korea, a government source said Tuesday.

The ministry plans to set aside 47.2 billion yen to acquire a new type of interceptor missile to be loaded on Japanese destroyers equipped with the Aegis missile defense system, while also asking for funding to introduce a land-based Aegis system known as Aegis Ashore.

The fiscal 2018 budget request would mark a 2.5 percent rise from the initial budget for the current year through March. Japan's defense budget has been on the rise from fiscal 2013 under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government and topped 5 trillion yen in the fiscal 2017 budget for a second-straight year.

The Defense Ministry will leave open the actual sum it is expecting for designing the Aegis Ashore program because of the need for consultations with the United States that owns the technology. But it plans to finalize the costs by the end of the year when the government will draw up the fiscal 2018 budget plan.

Read the full story at The Mainichi