Japan’s defense ministry requests largest ever military budget
Japan’s Defense Ministry has asked for the country’s largest ever military budget as Tokyo seeks to boost its armed forces amid persisting territorial conflicts with China and Russia as well as concerns over Beijing’s expanding naval power.
The defense ministry on Monday requested an annual budget of 5.09 trillion yen (USD 42.38 billion) for the next fiscal year, reflecting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to build a stronger and more active military that mainly focuses on a potential intensification of tensions with China.
The key objective of Tokyo’s military build-up is said to enhance the protection of a series of southern islands that stretch from Japan’s mainland to waters near Taiwan.
If approved, the new budget would be the fourth straight hike in the nation’s annual defense budget, marking a 2.2 percent increase compared to the budget for the current fiscal year, which ends in March 2016.