Defense ministry requests biggest-ever budget
NHK -- Sep 01
Japan's Defense Ministry plans to request a record budget to address security issues, such as North Korea's ballistic missile program and China's maritime activities.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and ministry officials on Friday decided to request 5.3 trillion yen, or about 47.7 billion dollars, for the next fiscal year, starting in April 2019.

That's up 2.1 percent from this year's initial budget.

The request includes funds to acquire the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system. The ministry plans to install 2 units over a 5-year period from fiscal 2019.

The ministry initially estimated each Aegis Ashore unit would cost 720 million dollars, but that figure ballooned to 1.2 billion dollars.

The ministry has dropped some of the system's functions to cut the cost. It is now estimated at a little over 1.1 billion dollars.

The budget request includes money for remote islands and waters around Japan confronted with China's growing maritime activities.

The ministry plans to acquire 6 more F-35A stealth fighter jets and upgrade F-15 fighters to carry cruise missiles with a range of 900 kilometers.

The request also includes money for a radar system to monitor activity in Earth orbit, as other countries ramp up investments in technologies to militarize space.

News source: NHK
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