These numbers are taken from the 2010 Defense budget located here (2.2 Mb PDF.)

SiG 220 Semi Automatic Pistol

SiG 220 handgun: 1,004 @ ¥200,000,000 ($1,992 USD each)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent: SiG 226, U.S. civilian market, $816.00* (2010)

 

Howa Type 89 rifle

Type 89 Rifle: 10,012 @ ¥2,800,000,000 ($2,796 each)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent: M16A4 Rifle, $784.00 (2010)

 

M700 Sniper Rifle

M700 Anti-Personnel Sniper Rifle: 105 @ ¥200,000,000. ($19,047 each)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent: M24 Sniper Rifle (same thing): $2,105 (2005)

 

MINIMI / M249 Squad Automatic Weapon

5.56mm Machine Gun MINIMI: 195 @ 400,000,000. ($20,512.00 USD each.)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent, M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (same thing), $4,087 USD (2005)

 

M2 .50 Caliber Heavy Machine Gun

12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun: 123 @ ¥700,000,000. ($56,000.00 USD each.)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent, M2 Heavy Machine Gun (same thing), $12,000 USD (2010)

 

L16 / M252 Medium Mortar

81mm Mortar L16: 5 mortars @ ¥100,000,000. ($200,000.00 USD each.)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent, M252 Medium Mortar (same thing), $24,717 USD (2005)

 

MO-120 Heavy Mortar

MO-120-RT-61 120mm mortar: 4 mortars @ ¥200,000,000. ($500,000.00 USD each.)
Cost of U.S. Equivalent, M120 120mm Heavy Mortar, unknown.

*Exchange rate of $1.00 USD = ¥100. This is a bit high for now.

It is difficult to justify a Japanese-bought M700 sniper rifle costing ten times more than an American equivalent (which is the same rifle.) Even something as simple as a pistol costs twice as much. And it’s not just foreign imports: a domestically produced Howa Type 89 rifle costs more than three times more than a M16A4 purchased for the U.S. Marine Corps.

When the cost of a MINIMI bought by Japan is five times more than that by the United States, someone is getting ripped off. The MINIMI is not a new design, nor is it complicated, or infrequently made. (Email sent to FN, maker of the MINIMI asking for a comment went unanswered.)

These are all quality weapons, but the pricing is simply unacceptable. The Japanese taxpayer is getting royally jobbed. There is little interest in military matters in Japan and I suspect that these numbers are not widely known. If they were, one would think that outrage would be the only possible reaction.

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A contributor and editor at the blog War Is Boring, Kyle Mizokami started Japan Security Watch in 2010 to further understand Japan's defenses and security policy.
Kyle Mizokami has 536 post(s) on Japan Security Watch