The Japanese government on Friday approved a record-high defense budget of 5.19 trillion yen ($46 billion) for fiscal 2018 to boost its missile defenses against the growing threat from North Korea, breaking the record for the sixth consecutive year.
One of the major highlight of the budget draft is the ¥2.2 billion allocation to procure Japan’s first long-range cruise missiles mountable on fighter jets. The Joint Strike Missile by Norway’s Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace AS, with a range of about 500 km, will be loaded on F-35A stealth fighters.
The Cabinet also earmarked about 96.4 billion yen to acquire 3900 tons class destroyers. The government plans to build two destroyers of a new type, which can engage in diverse missions with a downsized vessel body, allocating 92.2 billion yen in purchases costs.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, which has strengthened Japan's defense capacities amid the growing North Korean and Chinese threat, has kept around 730 million yen aside in the budget to prepare for the introduction of the U.S.-developed land-based Aegis missile defense system.
The ministry has also allocated ¥78.5 billion to buy six F-35As, ¥39.3 billion to obtain four V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft and ¥14.7 billion for RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance aircraft procurement.