Japan's Defense Ministry Thursday asked for a 12% defense budget increase for fiscal 2024 that would hike spending to $53 billion. Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 31 (UPI) -- The Japanese Defense Ministry on Thursday requested its largest-ever defense budget following record defense spending last year in response to threats from China, North Korea and Russia.
The ministry asked for a $53 billion military budget for fiscal 2024, a roughly 12% increase.
The higher spending on defense is consistent with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's new National Security Strategy and National Defense Program that calls for a five-year military spending amount of $315 billion.
The defense spending plans include a new joint headquarters to command Japan's three military branches and a munitions stockpile for protracted war.
The spending plan seeks greater "standoff" and counterstrike capabilities, missiles that can be launched from outside the range of enemy fire, better military transport and deployment capacity and two new Aegis missile destroyers.
The budget also includes money for development with the United States of a "glide phase interceptor" system designed to down hypersonic missiles.
In January Kishida told lawmakers in the National Diet that his government would seek to double defense spending to $328.8 billion over five years, an amount equivalent to 2% of Japan's annual GDP.
Kishida has pushed to strengthen Japan's defense posture, departing from the post-World War II military self-defense limitations built into Article 9 of Japan's constitution.
Those changes were adopted in three security documents signed in December of 2022.
"We conducted a realistic simulation of whether current capabilities held by the Self-Defense Forces were sufficient to deter threats and protect the nation," Kishida said at the time. "Frankly, the current capabilities are insufficient."