The head of a Defense Ministry expert panel said Monday that the nation's planned ¥43 trillion ($290 billion) defense outlays for five years from the current fiscal year 2023 may be insufficient, citing recent price surges and a weaker yen.

The spending plan is already much larger than in past years to address security threats from China's military buildup and North Korea's nuclear and missile programs. But the panel's head, Sadayuki Sakakibara, cast doubt on whether the government will be able to strengthen its defense posture under the plan.

The government should primarily focus on sticking to the ¥43 trillion limit, Sakakibara, a former chief of the Japan Business Federation, known as Keidanren, told reporters after the panel's first meeting.