The Ministry of Defense (MOD) has decided to request a record 5.2551 trillion yen in the FY18 budget, representing an increase of 130 billion yen (2.5%) over the initial FY17 defense budget. In response to China’s aggressive maritime advances and North Korea’s launching of ballistic missiles, the MOD will build new destroyers and submarines and conduct studies on missiles for island defense. Allocations for the land-based Aegis Ashore system will also be included.
The MOD will request allocations for Aegis Ashore as the centerpiece of ballistic missile defense. However, the request will be made without a specific amount, with the outlay to be determined before the end of 2017. The ministry will also request 19.6 billion yen for the development of “anti-stealth radar” to deal with missiles that are hard to detect by radar. With North Korea intentionally firing more missiles at a lofted trajectory at a high altitude, 10.7 billion yen will be requested to improve automated surveillance and control systems to enhance detection capability.
Meanwhile, an allocation of 96.4 billion yen will be requested for the construction of two new compact destroyers with minesweeping capability. The MOD also wants to spend 71.5 billion yen to build a new submarine with superior detection capability and 49.1 billion yen for two E-2D early warning aircraft.
The ministry will also give priority to island defense. It plans to request 55.2 billion yen for facilities for the Nansei Islands garrison and to procure six state-of-the-art F-35A fighters at a cost of 88.1 billion yen. The MOD is also taking a new step to study offensive weapons for contingencies on remote islands. It will allocate 10 billion yen for research on “high velocity glide bombs for island defense.”