TOKYO — Japan’s defense buildup, while designed to give the nation’s planners a platform to meet emerging threats over the next decade, faces questions about technology integration and how it can afford tomorrow’s weapon systems.
However, there are signs that Japan is finally reaching a partial solution to its perennial procurement problems.
For decades, the Defense Ministry’s plans have been driven by two conflicting systems: 10-year National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPGs) divided into two five-year Mid-Term Defense Programs. These provide a degree of strategic planning and annual budgeting that forces small-lot procurement — thereby driving up costs — which in turn pressures decision-makers as weapons platform prices continue to climb.
Following Japan’s December National Security Strategy, the MoD’s current NDPG has budgeted ¥23.97 trillion (US $199.5 billion) over the next five years to fund military expansion and create a more flexible “Dynamic Joint Defense Force,” which is no longer aimed at deterring a Soviet invasion from the north.