Japan plans to add coast guard costs to defense budget

A flight crew aboard the Japanese Coast Guard Cutter Mizuho, ​​prepares to land an HH-65 helicopter, on the Mizuho October 16, 2007, in Nagoya, Japan. (Jonathan R. Cilley/US Coast Guard)

TOKYO — The government is considering adopting a method of calculating its defense budget that would include the coastal security budget and other items, as part of its push to bring the defense budget to 2% of proceeds. Japan’s gross domestic over the next five years, according to government sources.

This calculation method is the one used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which aims for member countries’ defense spending to be at least 2% of GDP. To compare the defense efforts of member countries, NATO defines the items to be included in defence-related spending, such as spending on coastguards, UN peacekeeping operations and pensions. veterans, none of which are currently included in Japan’s defense spending.

According to the sources, the Japanese government has decided that NATO standards should be adopted as the benchmark for the 2% target.

Japan’s defense budget is about 5.4 trillion yen in the current fiscal year’s initial budget, while the coast guard budget is about 220 billion yen and the cost of pensions for veterans and survivor benefits is about 110 billion yen. If Japan adds up these and other items using NATO standards, defense spending will amount to about 6.1 trillion yen or 1.08% of GDP.

The government also intends to see if there are elements of the science and technology budget that can be counted as defence-related expenditures. The annual science and technology budget exceeds 4 trillion yen, but only 4% of it goes to the Ministry of Defense, while more than 60% goes to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The government believes that it may be possible to count expenditures for other government departments’ projects as defence-related expenditures if they are intended to be used for defense purposes, such as in the space sector.

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