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Japan outlines defence spending priorities

Japan's total defence expenditure is forecast by Janes to grow rapidly over the coming few years. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Japan's 2023 defence White Paper has provided new details about the funding priorities of the Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) over the next five years.

The Defense of Japan 2023 document – issued in late July – repeats a previously stated intention to spend JPY43.5 trillion (USD304 billion) on defence ‘material expenses' or expenses based on contracts, during fiscal years (FYs) 2023–27.

The White Paper goes on to break down the spending into capability domains or functions over the next five years. During this period, approximately JPY9 trillion will be spent on sustainment and repairs, JPY8 trillion for cross-domain operation capabilities, and JPY5 trillion for stand-off defence.

Other priorities include JPY4 trillion to improve the resiliency of facilities, JPY3 trillion for integrated air and missile defence, JPY2 trillion for ammunition and guided missiles, and JPY2 trillion for mobile deployment capabilities/civil protection.

In addition, unmanned defence capabilities and command-and-control and intelligence-related functions will receive JPY1 trillion each during 2023–27. Other expenditures include ‘others' (JPY6.6 trillion), research and development (JPY1 trillion), and reinforcing Japan's defence production base (JPY0.4 trillion).

The White Paper also highlighted the large increase between planned material expenses in 2023–27 compared with 2019–23. In this latter period planned material expenses amounted to JPY17.2 trillion. Of this, JPY4 trillion was to be spent on sustainment, JPY3 trillion on cross-domain capabilities, JPY1 trillion on integrated air and missile defence, and JPY1 trillion on ammunition and guided missiles.

Japan's intention to spend JPY43.5 trillion on defence capability was revealed in the Defense Buildup Program document, which was issued by the government in late 2022 alongside the new National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy.

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