According to the Japan Times, the Defence Ministry will seek a budget of over ¥5.4 trillion for fiscal 2021 under new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga governance.
Suga took office on Wednesday to succeed Shinzo Abe, who stepped down for health reasons, pledging to continue his policies including those on national security and diplomacy. Suga vowed to continue with his predecessor’s policy of bolstering Japan’s capabilities in new domains.
The seventh consecutive year of all-time high requests compares with the ¥5.31 trillion sought in the ministry’s initial budget for the year ending in March. The plan comes amid growing concerns about the country’s fiscal health, the worst among major economies, with over ¥1.1 quadrillion worth of public debt. In fiscal 2020, the new government debt issuance is set to exceed ¥90 trillion to a record high in response to a coronavirus pandemic.
The ministry will make a budget request by the end of September that will include funding for a specialized electronic warfare unit as part of efforts initiated under Abe to strengthen capabilities in “new spheres” including cyberspace and outer space in a veiled counter to China and Russia according to daily.