Japan’s Defence Ministry Seeks Record Budget

Tokyo, – Japan’s defence ministry requested a record budget on Wednesday, with funds for an anti-ship missile system to defend islands at the centre of a territorial dispute with China.

The ministry announced it is seeking 5.168 trillion yen ($50.12 billion) in spending for the fiscal year starting April 2017, up 2.3% from the initial budget for the current fiscal year.

If approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, it would be the fifth straight year the government sets a record defence budget, as regional tensions remain high. The proposed budget calls for Japan to develop land-to-ship missiles as well as air-to-ship missiles for patrol planes.

The new land-to-ship missile system is expected to have a range of 300 kilometres (190 miles), far enough to reach the vicinity of the disputed islands, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported earlier in August.

The ministry also plans to create a mobile amphibious unit with more than 2,000 troops at a base in Nagasaki prefecture. And the budget proposes funds to dispatch extra personnel to the Philippines and Vietnam in an effort to beef up intelligence-gathering in the South China Sea.

Source: Qatar News Agency