Mitsubishi Heavy expects record defence orders as Japan boosts military

TOKYO (Reuters) – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has doubled its forecast for defence orders to a record 1.6 trillion yen ($10.7 billion) in the current financial year, it said on Monday, as Japan expands its military by the most since World War Two.

Tokyo has said it aims to double defence spending to 2% of gross domestic product by 2027 in response to an increasingly assertive China and an unpredictable North Korea.

The country’s top defence contractor Mitsubishi Heavy makes missiles, tanks, submarines and other defence equipment, and military work accounts for around a tenth of its overall revenue.

The revision of the internal projection for defence orders compared to a range of 800 billion to 850 billion yen it had previously expected, a company spokesperson told Reuters.

The company on Monday also lifted estimates for total orders for the full year by around a fifth, to 5.6 trillion yen.

After the company released its results for the six months to September, Mitsubishi Heavy CEO Seiji Izumisawa told reporters it had “a rather conservative estimate” and had seen bigger-than-expected orders for aircraft, defence and space.

“It’s reasonable for us to revise up estimates assuming orders continue to come in the second half of the year as usual,” he said.

The company also said its energy business expected orders to be 200 billion yen more than previously estimated for the full year to March.

($1 = 149.6200 yen)

(Reporting by Maki Shiraki; writing by Mariko Katsumura; editing by Barbara Lewis)