Japan’s defense ministry is seeking a hike in military budget for the fourth straight year to help fortify an East China Sea island chain that is close to territory claimed by Beijing, Reuters reported.
In a document submitted on Monday, the ministry asked for a 2.2 percent increase in military spending to 5.09 trillion yen (US$42.38 billion) for the year starting in April, the report said.
If approved, the new defense budget would be Japan’s biggest in 14 years.
Under the budget plan, the ministry intends to buy amphibious assault vehicles, F-35 Stealth warplanes, Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft and Global Hawk drones, according to the report.
Other purchases will include missile batteries, helicopters and other kit the military wants to defend island-dotted ocean territory stretching 1,400 km from the Japanese mainland almost to Taiwan.
Money would also be allocated to building and extending military bases along the island chain.
Japan and China contest ownership of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea called the Senkaku by Tokyo and the Diaoyu by Beijing. Japan administers the chain.
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