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
Apr 20
A law recognizing the Ainu ethnic minority as an indigenous people of Japan has been enacted. (NHK)
Apr 17
The Japanese government plans to proceed with printing new banknotes matching the sample designs it released, even though some people have pointed out that one of the portraits used is different from the probable source photo. (NHK)
Apr 17
One week after an F-35A stealth fighter jet crashed off the northeastern coast of Japan, U.S. and Japanese military vessels are struggling to find the wreckage and protect its valuable "secrets." (Japan Today)
Apr 13
Japan's Defense Ministry says the number of times Air Self-Defense Force fighter jets were scrambled in fiscal 2018 was the second-highest on record. (NHK)
Apr 11
The pilot of a Lockheed Martin F-35A stealth fighter jet that crashed into the Pacific Ocean called an end to his training exercise just before the plane went down, it was learned Wednesday. (Nikkei)
Apr 11
Japan's Olympic minister resigned Wednesday after making remarks deemed offensive to the people affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, a gaffe that had questioned his credentials. (Japan Today)
Apr 10
Japanese defense officials are searching for a fighter jet off the coast of Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan. They lost contact while it was on a training mission. (NHK)
Apr 09
Japan decided Tuesday to extend its sanctions against North Korea for two years, maintaining pressure on Pyongyang to denuclearize and resolve its past abductions of Japanese nationals. (Japan Times)
Apr 05
Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have met with Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela and his wife at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. (NHK)
Apr 04
The Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday the name for Japan’s forthcoming new Imperial era, Reiwa, means “beautiful harmony” in English. (Japan Times)