Japan announced this week that it will develop and mass produce a cruise missile and a high-velocity ballistic missile, as part of a military expansion plan aimed at countering threats from China and Russia.
Unveiled in the Ministry of Defense annual budget request, the procurement plan is a clear departure from a decades-long limit imposed on Japan’s constitutionally constrained Self Defense Forces.
In its budget request, the ministry said, China continues to threaten to use force to unilaterally change the status quo and is deepening its alliance with Russia.
It is also applying pressure around Taiwan with supposed military exercises and has not renounced the use of military force as a way to unite Taiwan with the rest of China.
The ministry also mentioned North Korea as a threat to Japan.
China caused concern this month after it fired five ballistic missiles into waters less than 100 miles from Japan after Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker, visited Taiwan.
Japan’s defense ministry is also requesting money to develop other projectile weapons, including hypersonic missiles.
Various air-launched missiles, including the Joint Strike Missile made by Norway’s Kongsberg, and Lockheed Martin’s Joint Air-to-Surface Stand-Off Missile, with a range of up to 620 miles, have already been ordered by Japan.
The ministry also requested an increase of 3.6 percent increase $39.78 billion for the year starting on 1st April, adding that the figure would need to be increased after it calculated the cost of new procurement programs.
While unveiling a major defense strategy overhaul and new midterm military buildup plan at the end of the year, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government is expected to approve the request.
In July, Kishida’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party promised to double defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product over five years, which will result in Japan having the world’s third largest military expenditures, behind the U.S. and China.