TOKYO --- The Defense Ministry said Wednesday it will seek a record ¥5.17 trillion in budget outlays for fiscal 2017 as it aims to upgrade the country’s missile defense in response to a series of recent provocative actions by North Korea.
The sum for the year starting next April, including expenditures related to the U.S. military realignment in Japan, is up 2.3 percent from the fiscal 2016 initial budget. The request marks an increase for the fifth straight year.
The ministry plans to spend ¥14.7 billion to acquire the Standard Missile-3 Block 2A interceptor system, currently being developed by the Japanese and U.S. governments.
The request also includes ¥105.6 billion to revamp the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, surface-to-air missile defense system.
The total sum also includes ¥17.7 billion to obtain an advanced model of the Type 3 medium-range surface-to-air missile and ¥11.6 billion to extend the range of the Type 12 surface-to-ship missile.
These measures are designed to enhance the capability of the Self-Defense Forces to protect the Nansei island chain, including the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, amid China’s increasing maritime assertiveness.
The ministry also plans to acquire a new submarine with advanced detection capabilities for ¥76 billion, four units of the Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft for ¥39.3 billion and six F-35 stealth fighters for ¥94.6 billion.
The ministry’s request also includes funds to increase the number of defense attaches stationed in the Philippines and Vietnam and to start dispatching such personnel to Finland in order to boost Japan’s ability to gather intelligence about China and Russia.
The ministry also plans to establish a command to control all Ground SDF units and an amphibious unit to be modeled on U.S. Marines.