Japanese ministry demands record military budget over 'security threats'
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 31 August 2021 8:22 AM
Japan's Defense Ministry has demanded a record budget to further boost the country's military against what it considers to be national security threats from China and North Korea.
The ministry announced the record nearly $50-billion budget request for fiscal year 2022 on Tuesday, registering an increase of 2.6 percent compared to last year, claiming that "the security environment surrounding our country is increasingly severe."
Finance Ministry officials will review, and can amend, the request before sending it to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's cabinet for approval.
The new budget request comes as Tokyo is planning to build five military ships and a submarine, and purchasing 12 F-35 fighter jets from the United States. The Japanese government also aims to boost its military capabilities in space and cybersecurity.
Military expert Hideshi Takesada told AFP that Japan is mainly concerned with China's military capabilities and North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.
The military spending increase, however, is not enough to keep pace with China's expanding military budget, which increased 6.8 percent this year and is already about four times that of Japan's, and second only to the United States in size.
Japan's growing military spending, Takesada said, also comes under pressure from the US to play a bigger role in regional security as tensions continue to rise between Beijing and Washington. "As long as Japan's current conservative government remains in power, the nation's military budget is expected to remain high," he added.
Japan said in an annual defense paper last month that the US-China tensions over Chinese Taipei were an increasingly urgent issue that threatened regional stability.
The United States routinely stirs tensions with China both over Chinese Taipei and the South and East China Seas.
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