Russian new military barracks in disputed Kuril islands anger Japan


But the move is controversial, with critics arguing it shifts Tokyo further away from its commitment to strictly defensive capabilities under Japan's post-World War II pacifist constitution. "With our security environment changing at such a rapid pace, it is necessary for Japan to review our defence guidelines".

In announcing the spending plan Tuesday, Japan stressed it is created to buttress those defenses.

China is deploying more ships and aircraft to patrol waters near Japan, while North Korea has yet to fulfill a pledge to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs. The conversion should be completed within five years.

Overall, Japan will spend a record 27.5 trillion yen ($243 billion) on military equipment over the next five years, an increase of 6.4% from the previous five-year plan.

It calls for the defence ministry to upgrade two flat-top Izumo-class destroyers to enable them to launch fighters with short take-off and vertical landing abilities, like the F-35B stealth fighter.

Defense analysts, however, have pointed out that under the current interpretation of the Constitution, Article 9 of which reads "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained", the upgrading of Izumo into a contemporary "de facto" aircraft carrier, whether it permanently carries next-generation fighter jets or not, is in contradiction of Japan's pacifist charter.

The Japanese government is determined to hold persistent talks with Moscow on a peace treaty, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo commenting on Japan's protest over Moscow's construction of military facilities on the southern Kuril Islands, Trend reports referring to TASS.

Government officials said at a press briefing that the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo will buy an additional 63 conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) F-35As and 42 STOVL F-35Bs over the coming decade to replace 99 of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force's (JASDF's) 201 Boeing-Mitsubishi F-15J/DJ Eagle multirole combat aircraft.

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The package would make Japan second only to the United States in terms of procured F-35s, with the United Kingdom (138 total fighters) now third.

According to the newspaper, both sides now in work on the approval of this date for the Japanese premier's visit to Russian Federation.

The navy's two large helicopter carriers, the Izumo and Kaga, are to be modified for F-35B operations, the paper said.

"That is not going to happen", he said.

The big cost for the jets - a F-35B costs about 10 billion yen ($119 million Cdn) - will drive up Japan's defence spending, which has already climbed steadily for six straight years since Abe took office at the end of 2012.

He said there are no plans for now to increase the number of Izumo-class destroyers in Japan's fleet, which would be necessary if the country wanted to achieve a "full-fledged power projection capability". She added that her ministry urges Japan to observe its exclusively defensive security policy.

In this March 23, 2018, photo, USA military F-35B fighter jet lands aboard amphibious assault ship Wasp during an exercise in the western Pacific.