The Cabinet of Japan headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved its largest ever defence budget for 2015 on 14 January 2015. The defence budget includes plan to buy surveillance aircraft, drones and F-35 fighter jets to help counter rising assertiveness of China.
The main aim of increasing the defence spending is to boost capacity of Japan to defend uninhabited islands in the East China Sea where Japan controls it and China also has been claiming the island.
Highlights of Defence Budget
• Japan endorsed a nearly 5 trillion yen (42 billion US dollars) defence budget for the year beginning in April 2015 as part of a record 96.3 trillion yen (814 billion US dollars) total budget.
• The defence budget is designed to achieve seamless and mobile defence capability that can respond to various contingencies.
• The budget will provide effective deterrence and contribute to stability in the Asia-Pacific region and improvement of the global security environment.
• The increase of defence budget mainly includes new equipment, including P-1 surveillance aircraft, F-35 fighter jets and amphibious vehicles for a new unit similar to the US Marine Corps.
• The budget also covers the cost of purchasing parts of Global Hawk drones, planned for deployment in 2019, two Aegis radar-equipped destroyers and missile defence system development with the US.
Why Defence Budget raised?
Chinese patrol boats often visit waters near the islands, which are known as the Senkakus in Japan and as the Diaoyu islands in China. To counter china, Japan revised the defence guidelines in 2013 and increased the defence budget.
Prime Minister favoured a stronger role of Japan military despite a commitment to pacifism enshrined in the US- inspired constitution drawn up after the Japan’s defeat in World War II.
The increase in Japan’s defence budget comes at a time when the economy of Japan is in recession. However, the Shinzo Abe government has forecasted growth at 1.5 percent for the financial year 2015, after an estimated 0.5 percent contraction in 2014.
Further, the population of Japan also is ageing quickly raising the welfare cost and social security spending.
Also, the debt of Japan is the highest, proportionately, among industrialized countries.
Thus, Japan must tread a fine line between spending enough to support economic growth and defence and slowing the rise in debt of Japan.
When: 14 January 2015