The government approved a supplementary budget for fiscal 2021 by a Cabinet decision. It includes 773.8 billion yen for defense spending. This is the largest amount ever proposed in a supplementary budget.
Increasing deterrence and ensuring security are prerequisites for the people’s lives and economic activities. We want the proposed supplementary budget to be passed in the extraordinary Diet session to be convened on Dec. 6.
The total defense budget for the entire fiscal year, including the initial budget for FY 2021, is 6.116 trillion yen, which is 1.09% of the gross domestic product (GDP).
With this supplementary budget, the government will procure Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC3) surface-to-air guided missiles to intercept both ballistic and cruise missiles, P1 patrol aircraft, and C2 transport aircraft, as well as air-to-air missiles, torpedoes, and mines. The funds were appropriated ahead of the budgetary request for FY 2022.
The goal of the budget is to rapidly deploy troops to the Nansei Islands and strengthen missile defense and the ability to continue fighting. The Defense Ministry expects that if the proposed supplementary budget is approved [by the Diet], the delivery of equipment and ordinance to troops will be accelerated by a few months to six months.
Some question the use of the supplementary budget to procure defense equipment that is often included in the initial budget, but that is a dangerous argument that does not take into account the fact that strengthening deterrence is an urgent issue.
The proposed supplementary budget shows that the security environment surrounding Japan is extremely harsh and that there is an urgent need to improve defense capabilities.
We give high marks to the Kishida administration for positing “ensuring safety and security” as a pillar of economic measures and for making it easier to earmark funds for defense equipment.
Of course, the basic principle is to develop defense capability by securing the necessary amount in the initial budget.
In the joint statement of the Japan-U.S. summit in April, Japan pledged ”to strengthen its own defense capabilities to further enhance the alliance and security of the region.” The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won the recent House of Representatives election with a pledge to “substantially strengthen defense capabilities starting in fiscal 2022.” In order to fulfill these promises, the appropriation of necessary defense budget is essential.
The environment surrounding Taiwan has become increasingly tense, and the naval and air forces of China and Russia are repeatedly engaging in saber-rattling directed to Japan. North Korea is in the process of strengthening its nuclear and missile capabilities.
The Defense Ministry regards the FY 2021 supplementary budget and the FY 2022 budget as an “accelerated defense force enhancement package,” stating that “it is necessary to fill the gap between the harsh security environment and Japan’s defense capabilities.”
In preparing the FY 2022 budget and reviewing the Mid-Term Defense Program, the government should face up to the fact that even spending 1.09% of GDP on defense is insufficient.