01 September 2017

News Story: Japan's defense ministry seeks record budget for FY 2018

CGI of an Aegis Ashore System
TOKYO, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Japan's Ministry of Defense announced on Thursday a record-high budget request for the fiscal year 2018, which, if approved, would mark the sixth annual increase since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe retook office in 2012.

The defense ministry's budget request, up by 2.5 percent from this year's initial budget, totals 5.26 trillion yen (47.8 billion U.S. dollars) for the fiscal year starting from April, 2018.

The budget request was compiled by setting the dollar's exchange rate at 110 yen for fiscal 2018, according to the ministry.

Part of the money would be used to introduce a new missile shield system, possibly the land-based Aegis Ashore, but the amount was unspecified as it still needs to be hammered out with the United States, said the ministry.

Japan has so far taken steps to counter any potential launches of ballistic missiles by deploying high-tech Aegis advanced radar-equipped destroyers which are tasked with stopping missiles in the outer atmosphere, and ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors which will counter the attack at lower altitudes.

The Aegis Ashore system is a land-based version of the Aegis advanced radar system, and with potential to be permanently installed, it is expected to reduce the workload of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces members in missile intercept operations.

Each Aegis Ashore unit costs around 80 billion yen, and Japan would need two units to cover the whole landmass, experts here have said.

Read the full story at Xinhua