On Monday, the Japan Coast Guard finalized the FY2017 budget request that includes 44.62 billion yen to fund the cost of reinforcing security around the Senkaku Islands, remote islands, and distant waters. The amount increased by 6.56 billion yen (14.7%) from the FY2016 initial budget.
According to the coast guard, the budget for maintaining security around Camp Schwab is limited without plans to increase patrol ships, etc. However, the coast guard has introduced a system of “item request” this year in which additional allocations that provide for the reinforcement of urgent and necessary items are negotiated after the budget request. This means that the budget may increase further toward the end of the year.
The coast guard is asking for 10.83 billion yen for the cost of maintenance and fuel incurred by boats and aircraft involved in the increased patrol activities near and around the Senkaku Islands. Also requested is 220 million yen for building a Maritime Safety Agency training facility on Miyako Island, and 1.56 billion yen for improving base functions on Ishigaki Island.
The coast guard included the cost of three new patrol boats to maintain security around the Senkaku Islands in the 2016 second supplementary budget. These funds have been budgeted since FY2014, and by FY2018 the coast guard plans to have nine ships with which to address the problem of fishing boats sailing around the islands.
Another ongoing project involves the purchase of three new jet aircraft, to be stationed at Naha Air Base, which will enable twenty-four hour surveillance of the Senkaku Islands. Included in the budget is 10.55 billion yen for this purpose, contributing to the growing amount allocated for security maintenance around the Senkaku Islands.
The coast guard budget request, including the cost of ensuring Japan’s maritime rights and interests, amounts to 47.4 billion yen. (Abridged)