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Japan’s Defense Ministry Asks for Record Budget Increase in Response to China’s Heightened Military Aggression

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014. Reuters
A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014.  – Reuters

TOKYO—Took Sekiguchi reports: Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested a budget of ¥4.899 trillion ($47.1 billion) for the coming fiscal year starting April 1, a 2.4% increase over the amount for the current year. If granted, it would be the third year in a row Japan has expanded its military spending following a decade of cuts.

“We have an immediate neighbor whose military expenditures are at least twice as large as Japan’s and second only to the U.S. defense budget.”

— Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The figure, requested by ministry Friday, doesn’t include spending related to U.S. bases in Japan, or for the purchase of a new government airplane for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If these items are included, the total budget request would be ¥5.054 trillion, the largest ever for the ministry. It would also come as Mr. Abe continues his program to beef up the country’s defense capabilities.

“So call me a right-wing militarist if you want..”

Citing the continuing need for ocean surveillance amid tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the ministry is requesting 20 patrol planes and five patrol helicopters. It is also looking into acquiring an early-warning radar system and aerial drones.

Upping its emphasis on island defense, the ministry is building its newest and westernmost radar base on Yonaguni island in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa.

As part of efforts to create an amphibious force similar to the U.S. Marine Corps, the ministry wants to purchase water-to-land vehicles…(read more)

WSJ

Write to Toko Sekiguchi at toko.sekiguchi@wsj.com

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