Amid North Korean Threats, Japan all set to Boost Defence Budget

The Ministry of Defense of Japan has requested a record budget for the next financial year due to the deterioration of the situation on the Korean peninsula and the regular launch of ballistic missiles by North Korea. The office informed on Thursday that it sent the relevant document to the government of the country.

It asks to increase spending on defence needs by 2.5% compared with the current year – to 5.25 trillion yen (about $ 47.8 billion). Part of the budget is expected to go to purchase from the US ground-based anti-ballistic missile defence (AE) systems. According to experts, two such installations, each worth about 80 billion yen (about $ 728 million), are sufficient to protect the entire territory of Japan from a possible missile attack or a ballistic missile.

Also, about 67 billion yen ($ 609 million) will be spent on the acquisition of upgraded PAC-3 MSE complexes, which have a twice as much range as PAC-3, as well as new SM-3 Block IIA interceptors. Japan currently has a two-tiered missile defence system. Equipped with Aegis systems, the ships have SM-3 interceptor missiles, which should knock down a ballistic missile in the middle part of its trajectory. If this can not be done, the second level of missile defence will be deployed using PAC-3, which will intercept the missile at the final stage of its flight. The range of this system does not exceed several tens of kilometres.

Japan has been increasing defence spending for several years in a row due to the unstable situation in the region, particularly on the Korean peninsula. The country’s military budget for the fiscal year 2017 was around $ 44 billion.