06:36 GMT +323 March 2018
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    (File) The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) launches a Standard Missile (SM) 6 during a live-fire test of the ship's aegis weapons system

    Japan Eyes Record-High Defense Budget for Fiscal Year 2018 - Reports

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    Amid tempers flaring on the Korean Peninsula, Japan is mulling an increase in its defense expenditures in order to cover costs of implementing the Aegis Ashore US missile interceptor system, media report.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) — The Japanese Defense Ministry is planning to request a record-high defense budget of 5.19 trillion yen ($46.1 billion) for the next fiscal year, commencing on April 1, 2018, the Nikkei newspaper reported Saturday.

    READ MORE: Japan, South Korea, US ‘Raise Combat Skills' With Air Drill By Korean Peninsula

    The defense expenditure will be included in the country’s fiscal budget, which may hit an all-time high of 97.7 trillion yen ($867 billion), according to the media.

    The Japanese government seeks to strengthen the missile interception system through the deployment of land-based US missile defense systems Aegis Ashore, the purchase of Norway’s Joint Strike Missile (JSM) anti-ship cruise missiles, as well as the research of the possibility of equipping fighter aircraft with US Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) with a range of over 575 miles, the daily added.

    The initial draft defense budget for the fiscal year 2018 was released by the Japanese Defense Ministry in late August. The document stipulated the purchase of six F-35A fighter jets, four V-22 Osprey tiltrotor military aircraft, as well as the construction of two advanced and compact patrol ships and a new submarine.

    READ MORE: North Korea Says Carried Out Successful Hydrogen Bomb Test — Reports

    The Japanese Defense Ministry is also set to spend funds on developing the next-generation radar system, which would be capable of detecting advanced stealth fighters, and purchase advanced missiles for anti-missile systems, including SM-3 Block IIA and Patriot PAC-3 MSE (Missile Segment Enhancement) interceptors.

    Japan is protected by destroyers equipped with US Aegis missile defense systems as well as surface-to-air PAC-3.

    In ensuring the safety of its nation, Japan relies on the US, as after World War II the renunciation of military forces and warfare became enshrined in the Japanese Constitution.

    In recent years, Japan has been harboring a goal of amending its pacifist Constitution, with its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announcing a plan to revise the charter by 2020.

    Japan's anxiety is prompted by the provocative actions of North Korea, which has recently launched its most advanced ballistic missile, a rocket which, according to Pyongyang's military, is able to reach the territory of the US.

    In September, North Korea announced it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded on the warhead of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

    US missile defense systems, record high, military budget, spending, defense, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Japan, United States
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