Japan eyes defense budget hike to fortify islands facing China
Japan’s Ministry of Defense is seeking a fourth straight annual military budget hike to help fortify the country’s far-flung island chain in the East China Sea, close to ocean territory claimed by Beijing.
In a document submitted to the government on Monday, the ministry asked for a 2.2 percent increase in military spending to 5.09 trillion yen ($42.38 billion) for the year starting in April. If approved, the new defense budget would be Japan’s biggest in 14 years.
China’s military budget for this year rose 10.1 percent to 886.9 billion yuan ($138.37 billion), the second largest in the world after the United States.
Japan’s Defense Ministry will buy AAV7 amphibious assault vehicles made by BAE Systems (BAES.L), F-35 Stealth warplanes made by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft from Boeing Co (BA.N) under the budget plan, said the document.
Other purchases would include Global Hawk drones made by Northrop Grumman Corp(NOC.N), mobile missile batteries, helicopters and other kit the military wants to defend island-dotted ocean territory stretching 1,400 km (870 miles) from the Japanese mainland almost to Taiwan.
Money would also be allocated to building and extending military bases along the island chain, the document added. Read more