(Sankei: January 7, 2015 – p. 2)
On Jan. 6 the government began making final adjustments to the defense budget for fiscal 2015. It plans to increase defense spending by a maximum of 100 billion yen from the previous year to a record high of some 4.9 trillion yen, meaning that the amount will rise for the third consecutive year. Aside from defense expenditures, the government plans to earmark 211 billion yen for disaster relief in a supplementary budget for fiscal 2014 to be finalized at a cabinet meeting on Jan. 9. This is about twice the amount allocated in the supplementary budget for fiscal 2013. A total of about 5.2 trillion yen will be secured for defense spending in the next fiscal year.
Defense expenditures other than costs related to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan will likely amount to some 4.8 trillion yen, up tens of billions of yen from a year earlier (4.7838 trillion yen). Aiming at strengthening the defense of the country’s remote southwestern islands, the government plans to introduce five MV-22 Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, 30 amphibious vehicles, and Global Hawk drones. It plans to purchase 20 of the domestically produced P-1 patrol aircraft for the Maritime Self-Defense Force. Costs related to the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including the relocation of the Futenma base, will increase tens of billions of yen from 101 billion yen in fiscal 2014. In addition, the government plans to purchase two new government planes. These factors will push up defense spending for fiscal 2015. Although defense spending will only grow by about 100 billion yen from 4.8848 trillion yen in 2014, it will likely exceed the record high of 4.9557 trillion yen marked in fiscal 2002.