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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 August 30 - September 5  > Stop purchasing costly SDF equipment
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2017 August 30 - September 5 [POLITICS]
column 

Stop purchasing costly SDF equipment

September 5, 2017

Akahata ‘current’ column

Maintenance costs are a headache for all car owners in Japan. Even if it is a minicar and you drive only occasionally, you would need to pay at least 120,000 yen a year for vehicle-related costs which include gasoline, automobile tax payments, and insurance premiums. When your vehicle breaks down, you have to shoulder the repair costs.

Before buying a car or other durable goods, sensible consumers think carefully about how much they have to pay for upkeep costs. Then, what about the Defense Ministry? It has purchased ever more expensive equipment for the Self-Defense Forces.

The Defense Ministry’s Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Agency recently published the estimates of costs necessary to purchase, maintain, and dispose of a particular weapon, aircraft, or other military equipment. Let’s take the life cycle cost of Osprey aircraft as an example. The unit price of the aircraft is about 10 billion yen. It costs 1.3 billion yen a year to maintain, which means that the Defense Ministry needs to spend more than 100 million yen monthly to keep an Osprey in operational readiness.

The life cycle cost of the drone spy aircraft Global Hawk is surprisingly high. Its unit price is 20 billion yen and its annual maintenance cost is 4.2 billion yen. The Defense Ministry intends to pour taxpayers’ money of more than 350 million yen into the aircraft every month.

These costly military purchases are imports from the U.S. The Defense Ministry once considered giving up the purchase of the Global Hawk because of its astronomical cost. Still, the Abe government is pushing forward with the purchase plan, citing the need to maintain a state-of-the-art capability in the Japan-U.S. alliance. The defense budget is expected to surpass a record high for four consecutive years. The general public needs to cast a critical eye on the continuing increase in military spending.
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