Japan’s government approves record high military budget

December 22, 2017 2:35 am
A Japanese Self-Defense Force Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptor is seen deployed outside the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tokyo, , on August 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Japan’s government has approved a record budget, which allocates significant funding to the purchase of American-made weaponry.
The Japanese government on Friday approved the record 5.19-trillion-yen (45.76-billion-dollar) military budget for the financial year starting on April 1.
The new military budget shows a 1.3-percent increase compared to the 2017 military budget. 
The biggest ticket item is 137 billion yen to reinforce a US-made missile system against what Tokyo perceives as a North Korean ballistic missile threat.
“It is essential that we have the latest, most capable equipment to bolster our defenses,” Japanese Minister of Defense Intsunori Onodera said after cabinet members approved the new military budget.
Japan plans to allocate 279 billion yen of the 2018 military budget to buying weapons through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales system. That is 15 percent more than the 2017 budget and more than double the amount spent in the year that ended March 31, 2015.
US President Donald Trump (L) squeezes the hand of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after a conference at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, on November 6, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
In November, US President Donald Trump had urged Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to buy more American-made weapons.
“One of the things I think is very important is the prime minister is going to be purchasing massive amounts of military equipment, as he should,” Trump said in Tokyo in November.
Japan, along with its main ally, the United States, has been opposed to North Korea over its weapons programs. It has been dependent on the US for protection. North Korea fired two missiles over Japan this year, which Tokyo could not shoot down because of constitutional restraints. Pyongyang has also formerly threatened to “sink” Japan in the event of war.
On Tuesday, Japan’s cabinet had approved the deployment of the US military’s ground-based Aegis missile interceptor system in the country.
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