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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9  > Record high 5.2 trillion yen in FY 2018 budget draft allocated for defense spending
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2017 December 20 - 2018 January 9 [POLITICS]

Record high 5.2 trillion yen in FY 2018 budget draft allocated for defense spending

December 23, 2017
Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s Cabinet on December 22 decided on the FY 2018 budget draft with the largest-ever defense spending of 5.2 trillion yen.

The general account of the draft budget totals 97 trillion yen. The defense budget for the next fiscal year will set a record high for four consecutive years. In contrast, the Abe Cabinet is far less generous concerning social welfare spending. For example, the Welfare Ministry had requested 630 billion yen to cover the “natural increases” in social welfare spending, but the Cabinet in the draft allocated 500 billion yen to this effect. The “natural increases” refer to a growth in the social security budget that is attributable to the increase in the number of persons receiving public pension benefits or nursing care services, in other words, a natural consequence of Japan’s aging population.

Japanese Communist Party Secretariat Head Koike Akira on the same day commented on the budget draft.

Koike criticized the Abe Cabinet for slashing the budget needed to deal with the “natural increases” by 130 billion yen from the amount requested by the Welfare Ministry. He pointed out that the Abe government reduced the social welfare budget by 1.6 trillion yen in the last six years. In particular, Koike pointed at further cuts in the spending for the livelihood protection program. He stressed that it is totally unacceptable for the Abe government to impose a heavier financial burden on the needy in defiance of public opinion calling for measures to address the growth in poverty and economic disparity.

Noting that the defense budget increased for six straight years to 5.2 trillion yen, Koike said that the Cabinet also decided on the supplementary budget draft of FY 2017 that pours 234.5 billion yen into defense spending. The 2018 defense budget draft includes costs to introduce the Aegis Ashore ground-based anti-missile system. The draft also lists costs to purchase crash-prone Osprey military aircraft, F35 stealth fighter jets, state-of-the-art aerial refueling tankers, and the unmanned spy drone Global Hawks.

Koike expressed concern over the budget request regarding the introduction of a long-distance cruise missile system because it would enable Japan to have the capability to attack enemy bases. Pointing out that the 2017 supplementary budget draft also contains a budget for missile defense programs, Koike said that the Abe government is intent on a game changing military buildup.

Koike also stated that the Abe government seeks to spend a record high 418.9 billion yen to support the U.S. military in Japan. The draft uses much more money for the stationing cost of the U.S. military in Japan, including the so-called “sympathy budget” which the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement does not require Japan to shoulder. In addition, if the draft is approved, a large amount of taxpayers’ money will go to the realignment of U.S. military facilities in Japan, such as the construction of a new state-of-the-art U.S. base in Okinawa’s Henoko district.
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