Japan increases 2024 defense budget to modernize naval capabilities for deterrence effect

Japan has earmarked US$50 billion for defense in 2023, directing substantial investments towards naval vessels and surface combatant development to bolster the nation’s self-defense forces. 

Despite economic challenges, the Ministry of Defense has proposed a noteworthy 17.2% increase in the 2024 defense budget. This boost is anticipated to fund the construction of two advanced Mogami-class frigates, or Future Frigate Multirole (FFM) vessels, underscoring the country’s steadfast dedication to advancing and modernizing its naval capabilities, according to GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s latest report reveals that Japan’s Mogami-class procurement program will account for about 10% of the total spending on Frigates segment by countries in Asia-Pacific region over the period 2023-33.

Akash Pratim Debbarma, Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “China’s growing maritime influence over Japanese offshore territories and maritime boundaries poses a major threat to Japan’s strategic interests. These two new FFM vessels, with their stealth capabilities, will be an important asset for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), not only as an advanced combat vessel but will also act as a potent platform for conducting reconnaissance and surveillance operations in the region.”

Japan already operates four units of FFMs in its fleet. Even though Japan’s shipbuilding industry has historically proven to be a class of its own, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s two new FFMs are likely to be integrated with more advanced equipment and a higher level of automation than the previous FFMs.

Indonesia, despite having its own shipbuilding capabilities, is looking to purchase eight units of these FFMs from Japan, which shows the level of faith the international community has on Japanese technologies and expertise in shipbuilding industry.

Debbarma concludes: “Driven by the desire to establish its territorial claims over the Kuril Islands and Senkaku Islands, Japan realizes the importance of modernizing its naval fleet. This is more evident from the fact that, despite the recent economic turmoil in Japan, the country’s policymakers are ensuring that scheduled production of critical naval assets such as the FFM vessels are not impacted. Just like the previous Mogami-class frigates, the latest two vessels will also be likely to be delivered on time.”

Photo credit: iStock/Fahroni

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