Japan increases defense budget, sends 8 ships into Taiwan Strait

FPI / September 9, 2022


By Richard Fisher

In moves that project a growing concern with China’s military buildup and aggression, Japan on Aug. 31 announced that its 2023 defense budget 5.59 trillion yen ($40.4 billion) could rise to 6.5 trillion yen ($46.2 billion) as it could request 100 more programs whose cost was unspecified.

In a non-deliberate show of force, to avoid a typhoon, on Sept. 5, the Japanese Coast Guard sent eight Coast Guard cutters into the Taiwan Strait.

While the 2023 budget represents about 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), reporting indicates this could double over the next five years.

Key programs include the beginning of mass production of new versions of the Type 12 cruise missile with a range over 1,000 kilometers, new large combat ships equipped with long-range Aegis radar and missile interceptors, to replace previous land-based Aegis anti-missile systems, a new 5+ generation combat aircraft, new attack drones and increases for ammunition stocks.

Meanwhile, to avoid Typhoon Hinnamnor on Sept. 5, Japan sent five of its Coast Guard cutters into the Taiwan Strait, which joins the United States and Canada in demonstrating that the Taiwan Straits are international waters, not internal seas as claimed by China.

Though not a deliberate challenge to China, Japan’s dispatch of Coast Guard cutters comes after China’s massive display of coordinated missile, space, air and naval exercises around Taiwan starting on Aug. 4, which also shocked Japan.

Responding to the announced Japanese defense increases, on Sept. 1, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece Global Times accused Japan of “going further down a dangerous path.”

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