Abe seeking record ¥4.98 trillion in defense spending to counter China

AFP-JIJI, KYODO

The Cabinet is requesting record-high defense spending in the fiscal 2015 budget as hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe looks to strengthen surveillance of territorial waters amid the ongoing Senkaku Islands dispute with China.

Abe and his team are seeking ¥4.98 trillion, the third year in a row that defense spending would increase.

“This is the largest budget ever,” a Defense Ministry official said.

The previous high was ¥4.96 trillion in 2002, the official said.

The trend reflects Abe’s plan to build a more active military, a push supporters say is in response to tensions with China over ownership of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

But detractors point to Abe’s desire to bolster the Self-Defense Forces more generally, and to shrug off the shackles of pacifism.

The conservative prime minister has moved to change the official interpretation of the Constitution to allow the SDF to come to the aid of an ally under attack, under a concept known as collective self-defense.

Among items on the Defense Ministry’s shopping list are 20 P-1 maritime patrol aircraft, with a combined price tag of ¥350 billion.

It wants to buy five V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft along with six high-tech F-35A stealth fighters.

The ministry is looking to acquire a fleet of Global Hawk drones over a five-year period, with the first purchases coming out of this budget, officials said.

The ministry is also buying 30 amphibious vehicles and one E-2D airborne early warning aircraft to be assigned to protect Japan’s far-flung outlying islands.

The Abe Cabinet decided in late 2013 to set aside roughly ¥24.7 trillion between 2014 and 2019 to spend on equipment including drones, submarines, fighter jets and amphibious vehicles in a strategic shift toward the south and west.

The Cabinet budget request for fiscal 2015 also includes ¥3.2 billion to acquire land in the Amami chain of islands for the deployment of Ground Self-Defense Force troops there, and ¥200 million to prepare for the launch of a coastal surveillance unit on Yonaguni, not far from the Senkakus.

Japan and China have been butting heads over the ownership of the Senkakus, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus, with Chinese ships and aircraft regularly testing Japanese forces.

Separately, Chinese naval ships and military jets are seen increasing their activities around Japan, while an unpredictable North Korea continues its missile and nuclear programs.

Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping met last November, their first face-to-face encounter since each came to power, and agreed to work toward easing tensions over the Senkakus.

Abe has also traveled abroad tirelessly to reinforce ties with foreign leaders, particularly in Southeast Asia, to counter China’s efforts to expand its sphere of influence.

Abe has also worked to strengthen Japan’s military alliance with the United States.

If he gets his way, defense spending will make up more than 5 percent of the budget for the next fiscal year. The administration is preparing to submit to the Diet a record-high general budget of ¥96.34 trillion, up from ¥95.88 trillion for fiscal 2014.

  • China Lee

    Japan is outgunned by China for three reasons.

    1. China’s defense budget of $132 billion (for 2014) is much bigger than Japan’s rather-small $42 billion. Since China’s defense budget is three times larger than Japan’s, any Japanese military increase is pretty meaningless.

    2. China’s military technology is far superior to Japan’s. China will start mass producing hundreds of stealth fighters in 2018. Japan will go bankrupt buying squadrons of F-35s. Without high-performance F-22s, Japan doesn’t stand a chance.

    China has anti-stealth radars, WU-14 hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs), nuclear submarines, four Yaogan NOSS satellite trios, advanced drones, and ASBMs (ie. anti-ship ballistic missiles). Japan has none of these weapons.

    3. China’s economy ($10.4 trillion) is growing at 7.5% and can sustain an arms race indefinitely. Japan has been in recession frequently. Japan’s economy ($4.8 trillion) will collapse soon in an arms-race spending-spree with China.

    • Carrasco German

      It is not about China, it is about buying weapons to those who sell them so they buy Japan other stuff, it is about Japan being ready to be taken to participate in wars to share the outcome of it (call it destroy a country, “rebuild it” with your partner consortiums, put your 4G mobile companies and so on and pay it with the invaded country’s oil) for the profit of a few. Japan won’t ever get into a war with China alone. On the other hand, Japan could choose to become friend of China and avoid any arms-race and hostility. With last year’s tax raise Japan could use that money to pay health care and save many many lifes every year (why is it needed to have both a health insurance and a “cancer insurance”?), but not, Abe said that Japan should change it’s Constitution to be able to safe the life some Japaneses with its own forces in case they are in trouble abroad (how many? where? when? why? ) and everyone clapped and agreed.

      • China Lee

        The United States is 10,000 miles away on the other side of the planet.

        Professionals fight with logistics. China is a stone’s-throw away from Japan. China can bring unlimited firepower to the battlefield. The United States needs three months to ship over a tank.

      • Carrasco German

        USA has several bases and personnel in Japan and South Korea that won’t fade away even if Japan expands its military expenditure. Also in Hawaii, Guam and so on, so they are very near. China will never throw a stone over Japan first, as China would be destroyed in less than a month if so (not by Japan, by a coalition). But what could really trigger a war is if any of them (China or Japan) attacks a ship or plane doing provocations over unclear border waters. Then if China feels threatened it could menace with launching an attack on Japan main land, but that is something that let’s hope will never happen. Anyway if we want to avoid it, having a stronger military force is not the way. It should not be about destroying enemies, but about stop being enemies.

      • tholan

        my friend, china lee is at present serving as a comfort.. able man for the PLA. so he knows the capability of chinese military very well. take his words as it is.

      • Carrasco German

        Tholan, that “comfort.. able man ” comment is disrespectful.

      • China_Lee

        Total U.S. bases contain less than 100,000 troops in East Asia. It’s not enough to make a difference.

        Also, U.S. bases are within range of Chinese ballistic and cruise missiles. A RAND study showed that it only requires “34 missiles with submunition warhead could cover all parking ramps at Kadena [Air Force Base].” This kind of attack can “destroy or strand 75 percent of aircraft based at Kadena.”
        ———-
        “Rather than engaging the qualitatively superior PACAF outright on even footing, it makes much more sense for PLA forces to destroy PACAF before they could effectively mobilize or even get aircraft into the sky. RAND, a respected think tank, conducted a study examining a hypothetical PLA ballistic missile attack on Kadena Air Force base (AFB) Japan and Andersen AFB Guam. RAND determined that over 50% of PACAF aircraft based at Andersen and Kadena would be destroyed by the simulated cluster munition missile attack launched by the PLA.”

      • Carrasco German

        I am not saying that China lacks the power to do big damage, but winning a battle would be meaningless knowing the overwhelming power of the military machinery of USA and its allies (which is not measurable by troops numbers) that would strike China from East and West (and put their version of facts in the World Media to disregard civilians casualties and demonize China). China needs nothing from Japan, on the other hand China has lots of resources and a big market that others would like to explode. China military efforts are to try to discourage new attempts of acts like the “Opium War” and “Japanese invasion” of lasts century. China does not get involved in wars all around the World and is not boosting them like the Western Powers, they (the hawks) are experts in doing what ever they want. Showing off and saying that China has great power to do what ever it want whenever it wants just helps the propaganda of those who want to do wars and sell weapons.

    • Taishanese

      Japanese leaders are trying to shake the public’s attitude of a pacifist stance. In the long run, they will succeed, but it will take many years, maybe as far out as into the 2030’s. But by then China’s military will dwarf the Japanese military and any talk of increased spending will seem rather moot.

      By the mid to late 2030’s, China’s military budget could be today’s equivalent of a $800 billion and Japan’s military budget might break today’s equivalent of $100 billion. And the economic disparity will be so wide that Japan’s $100 billion will be a greater portion of her budget than China’s $800 billion on China’s budget.

      The reality, the days of speaking of two Asian giants, i.e., China and Japan, are quickly fading. This term only came about because China fell into calamity and Japan industrialized first. Now that China is rapidly industrializing, the region is returning to the way things have always been in the past, and that is, there is only one Asian giant.

  • Tomoko Endo

    China dose not want that Japan comes to China.
    So,if they donot call Japan, donot go to China.
    I’m a Japanese, so if I want to visit China, I donot go to China.
    I’ve heard that Japanese men do bulling to Chinese servants, so as a Japanese, very shame to Chinese.

  • timefox

    The maximum effect is desirable by a little budget. But 5 Chinese new-style destroyers are building. It’s right to raise the defense cost to oppose this.

    Chinese provocation and invasion act still continue. Japan should always prepare for an invasion from China.