Defense Agency seeks budget increase with the aim of combining three self-defense forces for overseas missions

The Defense Agency on August 31 decided to request a 4.960 trillion yen budget allocation for fiscal 2005 (Apr. 2005-Mar. 2006), up 57.1 billion yen from the current fiscal year.

Akahata of September 1st reported that the Defense Agency is aiming to combine the three Self-Defense Forces in operations, putting major emphasis on activities abroad.

FY 2005 is the first year of a five-year military buildup program which the government and the Defense Agency are trying to complete by the end of this year.

The Defense Agency has a plan to replace the present staff council which has coordinated the three forces with a unified command, the aim being to make SDF activities abroad, including joint operation with U.S. forces, more efficient.

Under the plan, the Ground Self-Defense Force will create a unit that will carry out the education of personnel in international activities. SDF aircraft will be modified "to be able to perform international duties." The Maritime SDF plans to rebuild its satellite communication network in order to "contribute to smooth international activities and improve capabilities of its ships to carry out activities abroad. The Air SDF plans to purchase its fourth KC767 refueling plane priced at 25.5 billion yen.

The Defense Agency requests 144.2 billion yen for missile defenses, up 37.4 billion yen from the current year. It plans to carry out firing tests with SM-3 sea-based interceptor missiles.

In addition to these items on the Defense Agency list, the Cabinet Secretariat requests 69.9 billion yen for military spy satellite-related expenditures. The total amount of the military-related budgetary request is 5.03 trillion yen, an increase of 63.8 billion yen from the current fiscal year. (end)

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