In what is a record-high budget request, the defense ministry of Japan plans to request more than 5 trillion yen in the fiscal year 2015 beginning next April. A formal announcement will be made next Friday and includes high priority costs that are in line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s new strategies on defense and security.
The budget sought after is 3.5% higher than this fiscal year’s request and includes defense of the remote islands of Japan, creation of an amphibious force, and U.S. military realignment.
A total of 19 billion yen will be utilized to defend the remote islands, of which around 10 billion yen will go into deploying the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft in Saga Prefecture from Okinawa. The islands have been the cause for troubled relations between Beijing and Tokyo. The move to increase focus on the remote islands comes after China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Around 17 MV-22 Ospreys will be added to the fleet, and the budget includes 2 billion yen meant to acquire land to set up infrastructure. A whopping 378.10 billion will be used to purchase 20 P-1 jets replacing the P-3C jets, and 95.9 billion yen will go into purchasing six F-35 fighters, which will be the Air Self-Defense Force’s primary fighter jet. Approximately 5 million yen will be invested in a new range of vehicles similar to the U.S. Navy’s amphibious ships, 7 billion yen will be used in developing patrol helicopters, and 35.4 billion yen will be used by two passenger ferries to ship Ground Self-Defense Force troops.