Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government approved a record US$42 billion military budget on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
Outlays are rising for a third year to counter China’s rising military might.
The draft budget for the fiscal year from April includes a 2.8 percent rise in defense spending to 4.98 trillion yen, for items such as planes, naval vessels and fighting vehicles to guard waters bordering China, with which the country has a long-running dispute over Japanese-held islands in the East China Sea.
“The situation around Japan is changing,” Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said Sunday.
“The level of defense spending reflects the amount necessary to protect Japan’s air, sea and land and guard the lives and property of our citizens.”
The budget also includes spending to relocate US troops away from Okinawa Island, where locals have protested against a heavy American presence.
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