Japan plans $2.1 bln in military spending

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 Japan will increase military spending for the first time in 11 years in the next fiscal year starting April, with concerns growing over a rising China and neighbors.

Japan plans to spend an extra $2.1 billion on missiles, fighter jets and helicopters, an official said yesterday, as it tries to strengthen defense capabilities with concerns growing over a rising China.

“We will request 180.5 billion yen to be allocated to military spending from a stimulus package,” a Defense Ministry spokesman said, adding that some of the money would be used to buy PAC-3 surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile systems and modernize four F-15 fighter jets. “Out of 180.5 billion yen, the Defense Ministry plans to use 60.5 billion yen to prepare for the changing security environment surrounding Japan,” he added.

The Defense Ministry wants to buy three SH-60K patrol helicopters and add a battery for an intermediate-range ballistic missile system, he said. “We need to update our equipment as the security environment surrounding Japan is becoming harsher as North Korea has test-launched missiles twice in the last year and tensions with China continue,” he added.

Japan is involved in a territorial tussle with China over a group of islands. Nerves have also been rattled by an unpredictable North Korea, which sent a rocket over Japan’s southern islands last month.

 

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