MELBOURNE, Australia — Japan will spend more than double on defense over the next five years compared to the previous five amid a host of security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, according to the country’s latest defense whitepaper.

The English version, released July 28, projects Japan will spend $309.75 billion on defense between fiscal 2024 and fiscal 2028, compared with $122.48 billion between fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2023.

This includes $35.62 billion for standoff defense capabilities that Japan only recently started to acquire; the country spent $1.4 million on that effort in the previous five years. These standoff defense efforts include the acquisition of air-launched standoff land-attack missiles such as the Joint Strike Missile for its F-35 fighter jets, a program to extend the range of its Type 12 ground-launched anti-ship missile, and the development of hypersonic weapons.

Japan’s forecast spending also includes $21.37 billion for integrated air and missile defense; the country spent $7.12 billion on that in the previous five years.

The document argues that Japan needs these capabilities “to counter opposing forces from a safe distance without being attacked.”

Projected spending on the integrated air and missile defense system mentioned in the document will likely primarily go toward two Aegis system equipped vessels that Japan plans to build in lieu of the scrapped Aegis Ashore missile defense system.

The ships, which are due to enter service in 2028 and 2029, will feature Lockheed Martin-made SPY-7 radars that Japan originally procured for its Aegis Ashore program. Local news agency Jiji Press previously reported that the vessels will each have 128 vertical launching system cells for missiles.

The whitepaper also said Japan is facing an “increasing diversity and complexity of airborne threats,” such as missiles flying at hypersonic speeds, low altitudes and on irregular trajectories.

Other areas expected to see a large investment boost over the next five years include sustainability and resiliency, as well as cross-domain capabilities. The former encompasses ammunition stockpiles, sustainment and maintenance costs, and improving the resiliency of defense facilities. Funding for that is to jump from $42.73 billion to $106.8 billion.

Spending on cross-domain capabilities is anticipated to increase from $21.4 billion to $56.9 billion as Japan continues investing in the integration of its self-defense forces.

The whitepaper also touched on what it calls “the most severe and complex security environment” since the end of World War II, and warned the country “needs to squarely face the grim reality and fundamentally reinforce its defense capabilities, with a focus on the capabilities of its opponents and new ways of warfare.”

Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.

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