Japan's LDP policy chief calls for defense budget to be doubled

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TOKYO, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The ruling Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) policy chief Sanae Takaichi has called for Japan's annual defense budget to be doubled to cater for increased outlays related to space and cybersecurity, local media reported Monday.

Takaichi, known for her rightwing, hawkish views and close ties with former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, made the remarks the previous day on a TV show, with her comments following those previously made by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida who vowed to secure a "substantial increase" in the budget amid perceived regional threats.

"If we accumulate what's needed, the budget would total 10 trillion yen (74 billion U.S. dollars)," Takaichi said, and recommended it be financed by the issuance of government bonds.

Japan's defense allocation for fiscal 2022 is already at a record 5.4 trillion yen, however, under the pretext of growing insecurity in the region, the ruling LDP has been calling on Kishida to double the figure and break the 1 percent GDP cap.

"We need to conduct substantial research and development in the fields of space, electromagnetic waves and cybersecurity," Takaichi said.

"Setting the target of 2 percent or more of the GDP is intended at showcasing Japan's strong determination to the world, and the defense budget should be secured by expanding the Japanese economy rather than through cutting other expenditures," she said.

Kishida announced his intention to notably raise Japan's defense budget at a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in late May, so as to bolster Japan's defense abilities and cooperation with the United States.

The LDP has been calling for the defense budget to be significantly increased and for the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to controversially acquire the ability of counter-strike and knocking-out enemy weapons and missile sites. Enditem

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