TOKYO – Japan’s Cabinet approved a record 5.4 trillion yen ($47 billion) defense budget for fiscal 2022 on Friday that includes funding for research and development of a new fighter jet and other “game-changing” weapons as Japan bolsters its defense capabilities in response to China’s growing military might and its tensions with Taiwan.
The 1.1% budget increase for the year beginning in April is the 10th consecutive defense spending increase and is in line with Japan’s pledge to the United States to strengthen its own defense capabilities to tackle increasingly challenging security issues in the region.
The budget, which still needs to be approved by parliament, includes a record 291 billion yen ($2.55 billion) for defense research and development, up 38% from the current year.
Of that, 100 billion yen ($870 million) is for development of the F-X fighter jet to replace Japan’s aging fleet of F-2 aircraft around 2035. It would be Japan’s first domestically developed fighter jet in 40 years.