Japan's Defense Ministry will seek a record budget of over 5.5 trillion yen ($41 billion) for fiscal 2023 to strengthen its operational capabilities in space and cyberspace as well as the traditional domains of land, sea and air, government sources said Wednesday.
The request, which could further balloon to 6 trillion yen once some unspecified costs are finalized, also reflects the ministry's desire to enhance its standoff defense capabilities and unmanned systems such as drones within the next five years, the sources said.
Such capabilities enable forces to attack from outside the enemy's firing range.
With China increasing its defense spending and military activities, the ministry has formed a strategy of ensuring "asymmetric superiority" -- preventing invasion by exploiting and exhausting the weaknesses of a formidable enemy.
According to its basic policy, the ministry will facilitate speedy decision-making by strengthening command control and information systems in addition to cross-domain operational capabilities.
It will also deepen ties with close ally the United States and other countries that share the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The budget request for fiscal 2023 is set to top the ministry's highest-ever 5.49 trillion yen budget drawn up in fiscal 2021.
To some extent due to its pacifist Constitution, Japan has long capped its annual defense budget at around 1 percent of gross domestic product, or about 5 trillion yen.
Some materiel with yet-to-be specified price tags will have costs finalized after being discussed during a review of three security-related documents, including the National Security Strategy, scheduled to be updated by the end of 2022.
To improve Japan's standoff capability, the ministry will allocate funds to extend the range of the Ground Self-Defense Force's Type-12 surface-to-ship guided missiles.
The ministry is also seeking funds to acquire unmanned aerial vehicles and develop new destroyers to be equipped with the Aegis missile interceptor system, which will be built as an alternative to the scrapped U.S.-made Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system.