Japan Starts Talks On Increasing Medium-Term Defense Budget To $287Bln - Reports

TOKYO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 27th November, 2022) The Japanese government and the ruling party coalition have begun discussions on increasing the country's medium-term defense budget to over 40 trillion Yen ($287.5 billion) over the next five years amid tensions in the region, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Sunday, citing informed sources.

Currently, Japan's medium-term budget spending on defense amounts to 27.47 trillion yen. The Japanese Defense Ministry has reportedly proposed an increase in the program to around 48 trillion yen to improve the country's defense capability, but the Finance Ministry has voiced a sum of 35 trillion yen ($251.57 billion) as the most realistic amount.

However, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has insisted that the total defense spending until the 2027 fiscal year cannot be "less than 40 trillion yen," which would demonstrate Tokyo's strong commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities, the media outlet reported.

In addition, the Japanese defense ministry requested a budget of 5.595 trillion yen for the next fiscal year, which will last from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2024. The sum exceeds the 2022 spending and may become the country's largest defense budget ever. Moreover, the amount of 5.595 trillion is not considered as final, as it includes only those expenses the Japanese authorities are ready to disclose. The government has also set specific goals whose costs are not made public. In this regard, the total defense spending for the next fiscal year is likely to reach 6.5 trillion yen.

For the subsequent, 2024 fiscal year, the Japanese defense ministry may reportedly request a budget of 6 trillion yen, excluding spending on goals that are not publicly disclosed. Tokyo also plans to increase the amount of requested budget even more each subsequent financial year to eventually reach the mark of 2% of GDP.

By the end of 2022, the Japanese authorities have to submit three updated documents on defense, including the national security strategy, the national defense program guidelines and the medium-term defense program.