Japan has decided to spend $1.6 billion to buy Tomahawk missiles from the United States, part of its biggest defense budget increase since World War II.
The Japanese government announced today that it will spend $51.7 billion on the defense budget in the fiscal year 2023, up 26.3% year-on-year, marking the country’s largest increase in military resources since World War II.
In this defense budget, Tokyo will allocate $6.7 billion for weapons development and procurement, more than four years ago combined. Nearly half of this will go to the project to develop a new generation of long-range missiles and $1.6 billion to buy Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US to shorten the service life and improve deterrence.
1.88 billion USD will be spent to buy 16 more F-35 fighters made by the US and 770 million USD for the project to develop the fighter with the UK and Italy.
Japan does not possess a long-range attack cruise missile because its constitution stipulates that military assets are only for defensive purposes. Tokyo has for years worked to reinterpret the constitution, allowing it to strike if national security is threatened.
Japanese media last month quoted unnamed officials as saying that Tokyo had asked Washington to sell Tomahawk cruise missiles and received a positive response and that the two sides were entering the final stage of negotiations.
Some American variants of the Tomahawk missile range about 1,600 km. Japan can modify the vertical launchers on many current warships to fire Tomahawk missiles.
Tokyo can buy them through Washington’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, in which the US government buys weapons from manufacturers and delivers them to foreign governments.