TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio on Monday instructed his defense and finance ministers to earmark some 43 trillion yen for defense spending over the five years from fiscal 2023.
The amount requested by Kishida is more than 1.5 times the 27.47 trillion yen set under the current medium-term defense capability development program.
After the meeting with the prime minister, Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada told reporters that 43 trillion yen is “a level that will allow (Japan) to realize drastic enhancement of its defense capabilities and play its role properly.”
Meanwhile, Kishida reiterated at the meeting that he aims to decide by the end of this year ways to secure financial resources for defense spending.
Ahead of the meeting, Kishida, also president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, held talks with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of Komeito, the LDP’s junior coalition partner.
Kishida agreed to Yamaguchi’s proposal to hold “high-level” talks on the financing of defense spending.
“The prime minister’s instruction was to be sure to prevent excessive financial burdens on the public,” Yamaguchi told reporters later. “Making responsible decisions is important,” he added.
Within the government, raising corporate tax or income tax is considered a promising option to finance a defense spending hike. However, many LDP members appear to oppose such a move.