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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 July 29 - August 4  > Use of small portion of Japan’s defense budget will set up 130 PCR testing centers
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2020 July 29 - August 4 [POLITICS]

Use of small portion of Japan’s defense budget will set up 130 PCR testing centers

August 4, 2020
Akahata on August 4 reported on an estimate by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) showing that the use of a small portion of Japan’s security spending will contribute to setting up 130 PCR testing centers.

ICAN in March published its estimate of how much medical systems will be improved to combat COVID-19 with the redirection of the military budget.

Concerning Japan, the ICAN calculation used the defense budget. According to the estimate, the Defense Ministry this year plans to spend 1.1 trillion yen to purchase fighter jets, weapons, and warships. If this money is used for medical purposes, it will cover the costs of securing 15,000 ICU beds and 20,000 artificial respirators as well as of paying salaries to 70,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors. More specifically, cancellation of the planned use of 3.1 billion yen for upgrading the “Izumo” escort ship and 79.3 billion yen for buying six F-35B fighter jets which will be operated on this ship can afford to set up more than 130 PCR testing centers across the country.

The same estimate indicated that last year’s U.S. budget for nuclear weapons amounting to 35.1 billion dollars was enough to secure 300,000 ICU beds and 35,000 artificial respirators and pay salaries to 150,000 nurses and 75,000 doctors. It also pointed out that last year’s French nuclear weapons-related budget of 4.6 billion euros was equivalent to the costs of 100,000 ICU beds, 10,000 artificial respirators, and wages of 20,000 nurses and 10,000 doctors and that U.K.’s nuclear weapons-budget of 7.2 billion pounds can be used to secure 100,000 ICU beds and 30,000 artificial respirators and to pay wages to 50,000 nurses and 40,000 doctors.

In an Akahata interview regarding the estimate, ICAN international steering group member Kawasaki Akira pointed out that in the world today, the two most serious challenges to human existence are climate change and infectious diseases. He added that the coronavirus crisis has made it clear that the argument that weapons ensure national security and that only in protected nations can people be protected from danger is highly dubious.

Kawasaki said, “Nuclear weapons and missiles are powerless against the coronavirus,” and stressed that to shift the use of taxpayers’ money from weapons to people is needed more urgently than ever.

Past related articles:
> Abe should stop submissively buying US-made weapons and spend more for coronavirus countermeasures [May 27, 2020]
> 2020 antinuke Peace March starts under banner, ‘Importance of people’s lives far outweighs nuclear weapons!’ [May 8, 2020]
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