Japan’s defense spending rises nine times in a row

The Japanese government passed the draft government budget for the fiscal year 2021 at the cabinet meeting on the 21st, in which the defense expenditure increased for the ninth consecutive year, reaching a record 5.34 trillion yen. < / P > < p > the most noticeable items in the defense budget are the construction project of two aegis ships and the cruise missile improvement plan, which are alternatives to the land-based aegis missile defense system. Japanese media pointed out that the land-based “Aegis” alternative has many disadvantages, and the plan to develop cruise missiles with longer range is contrary to Japan’s post-war peace constitution and the principle of “exclusive defense”, or increases regional instability. < / P > < p > in December 2017, the Japanese government decided to introduce two sets of land-based “Aegis” missile defense systems from the United States, which were respectively deployed in Akita County in the northeast and Yamaguchi County in the west, in order to achieve the so-called “all-weather and uninterrupted” protection for the whole territory of Japan, but the plan was strongly opposed by local residents. In June this year, then Defense Minister Taro Kono announced that he would abandon the plan, one of the reasons is that the booster may fall into nearby residential areas after the anti missile interceptor is launched. On the 9th of this month, Japan’s Defense Minister Shinzo Kishi announced that two new “Aegis” ships will be built as the final alternative to the land-based “Aegis” system. However, as soon as the new plan was introduced, it was criticized by the Japanese media. First of all, “all-weather” standby is difficult to achieve. Whether a warship can carry out its mission is closely related to the weather. In addition, the warship itself needs to be prepared and maintained, and the members of the self defense force need to be trained. Therefore, the number of days a warship actually carries out its defense mission in a year is about 120 days at most. Second, it costs a lot. The research cost listed in the draft budget passed on the 21st is 1.7 billion yen. According to the third party’s estimation, the total cost of building two new aegis ships is about 480 billion yen to 500 billion yen, which is higher than the land-based aegis scheme. This does not include the cost of missile interception test, daily maintenance and carrying equipment for the two ships. These two ships may become “the most expensive sea equipment in the history of Japan’s self defense forces”. Third, the maritime self defense force is seriously understaffed. Ikeda Dehong, a former commander of the Maritime Self Defense Force’s escort fleet, said that the two new aegis ships need at least 500 to 600 people to operate, while the Maritime Self Defense Force has not been fully recruited for five consecutive years. Japan’s Kyodo News Agency commented that the deployment of the land-based “Aegis” system was originally intended to reduce the missile defense burden of the maritime self defense force, but now the new “Aegis” ships have increased the burden. < / P > < p > recently, the Japanese government also announced that it will devote itself to the research and development of cruise missiles that can launch attacks from beyond the range of enemy missiles. The draft budget passed on the 21st includes 33.5 billion yen for the surface to ship cruise missile improvement program, with the goal of extending the missile range. < p > < p > limited by Japan’s post-war peace constitution and the principle of “exclusive defense”, the range of missiles used by Japan’s self defense forces has been within 200 km. During the Shinzo Abe administration, Japan’s defense ministry plans to purchase jassm, lrasm, JSM and other long-range cruise missiles from the United States and Norway, with a maximum range of 900 km. < / P > < p > however, Japan’s existing F-15 fighters need to be modified to carry these imported missiles. In the draft budget passed on the 21st, the cost of 21.3 billion yen needed to transform these fighters was cancelled because of the high cost. This may mean that Japan has shifted its focus from import to self research. < / P > < p > some Japanese opposition party members and experts criticized that although the Ministry of defense emphasized that self-developed missiles are not aimed at “attacking enemy bases”, their extended range may have the ability to attack enemy bases, which is contrary to Japan’s postwar Peace Constitution and the principle of “dedicated defense”. < / P > < p > Japan’s Asahi Shimbun said in an editorial that the decision to extend the missile range in the name of “outlying island defense” is hard not to make people feel that it is a layout with the ability to “attack enemy bases” in the future. The article said that in recent years, the SDF has been singing the principle of “dedicated defense” while introducing military equipment aimed at elevating the principle. Such a way of constantly strengthening one’s own ability with vague intentions will inevitably increase regional instability and even trigger a regional arms race.