Monday, December 21, 2020

Japan Boosts Its Military

  Japan's government approved a ninth consecutive rise in military spending. 

 The Ministry of Defence will get a record 5.34 trillion yen ($51.7bn) for the year starting in April, up 1.1 percent from this year.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is continuing the military expansion pursued by his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, to give Japan’s forces new planes, missiles and aircraft carriers with greater range and potency against potential foes, including neighbouring China. Japan is buying longer-range missiles and considering arming and training its military to strike distant land targets in China, North Korea and other parts of Asia.

A planned jet fighter, the first in three decades, is expected to cost around $40bn and be ready in the 2030s. That project, which will be led by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries with help from the US company Lockheed Martin, gets $706m in the new budget. Japan will spend $323m to begin the development of a long-range anti-ship missile to defend the Okinawan island chain in its southwest. Other big purchases include $628m for six Lockheed F-35 stealth fighters, including two short-takeoff and vertical-landing (STOVL) B variants that will operate off a converted helicopter carrier.

The military will also get $912m to build two compact warships that can operate with fewer sailors than conventional destroyers, easing pressure on a navy struggling to find recruits in an ageing population. Japan also wants two new warships to carry powerful new Aegis air and ballistic missile defence radars that have much as three times the range of older models. The government has not yet estimated the cost of the plan, which replaces a project cancelled in June to construct two ground Aegis Ashore stations.

Japan sets record military budget with stealth fighters, missiles | Military News | Al Jazeera

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