The government of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday approved spending as part of a supplementary budget. Although such additions to defense spending are commonplace, according to Japan’s Ministry of Defense, the 774 billion yen that lawmakers are being asked to allow is the largest ever.
“As the security environment around Japan is deteriorating at an unprecedented rate, our immediate task is to expedite the implementation of various projects,” the defense ministry said in a statement.
Three months ahead of the planned cash inflows, Korean warships the Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries, which will allow Japan to upgrade ground-to-air aerial missiles on the islands off the edge of the East China Sea.
China’s increasing pressure on Taiwan is causing tremors in Japan, as control of the island of Beijing will bring Chinese forces within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of its border and threaten key maritime trade routes that supply oil and other supplies to Japan. This will provide China with bases for unrestricted access to the western Pacific.
The additional cost would allow Japan to quickly purchase anti-submarine missiles, patrol aircraft and military cargo jets, the defense ministry said.
For decades the pacifist country has stuck to the policy of keeping defense spending at less than 1% of GDP, easing concerns at home and abroad about any resurgence of militarism that led to World War II.
The additional spending plan, approved by Kishida’s government on Friday, also includes advance payments to security contractors for equipment that will help them deal with the corona virus outbreak that has affected their finances.
The proposed additional spending, combined with defense spending for the year to March 31, is 1.3% of Japan’s GDP.