onsdag 30. september 2020

Japan's Defense Ministry asks for decades-high 8.3% budget increase amid growing threats in East Asia

Japan's Defense Ministry is asking for a 8.3% budget increase in 2020, its largest rise in more than two decades, in the face of China's rapid military modernization and a looming threat from North Korea. The Defense Ministry announced the draft budget on Wednesday afternoon, worth $51.9 billion in total spending (5.48 trillion yen), saying it would help the country's military build its capacity to respond to new threats, including cyber, space and electromagnetic warfare.

Among the new spending recommended by the Defense Ministry is $690 million to expand the Japan Self-Defense Forces' space unit and Space Situational Awareness surveillance system, and $340 million to build out its cyberspace defense unit and electromagnetic warfare capabilities.

Japan's parliament still needs to approve the budget later this year. If approved, it will be the ninth consecutive annual increase in Japan's military spending. Stephen Nagy, senior associate professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Tokyo's International Christian University, said the expansion of Japan's military budget would match rapid military growth by other regional powers. The requested budget increase, while large, was in line with similar military expenditure in other parts of East Asia, including China, South Korea and Taiwan, Nagy said.