Japan struggles to boost defense industry amid China's military ambitions

TOKYO, Aug 11 (voanews.com) - Japan is struggling to boost its domestic defense industry in spite of the country's ambitious plans to respond to China’s growing militarization in the East China Sea.

The government is investing $315 billion in its defense program over the next four years, but some of Japan’s technological and industrial giants are reluctant to produce more weapons alongside their well-known consumer products.

Japan's most famous global brands are more familiar as the makers of televisions, washing machines or cars. Less well known – even in Japan – is that they also make military equipment.

Mitsubishi makes fighter jets and missiles for Japan’s self-defense force. Electronics firm Toshiba makes military-grade batteries. Car maker Subaru produces military helicopters. Daikin, better known for its air conditioning units, has a side business producing munitions.

Now, the government wants Japan's industrial giants to ramp up production of military equipment – but it has been met with a muted response, according to a recent report by the Reuters news agency. ...continue reading