TOKYO: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet today approved Japan’s biggest annual defence budget in the face of North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats and a territorial row with China.
The Cabinet approved 5.13 trillion yen ($43.6 billion) in defence spending for the fiscal year starting in April, up 1.4 per cent from the initial budget for the current fiscal year.
It marks the fifth straight annual increase and reflects the hawkish Abe’s attempt to build up Japan
military, which since World War II has been constitutionally limited to self defence.
Abe, who is pushing revisions to the constitution, strongly backed new security laws that took effect this year making it possible for Japanese troops fight abroad for the first time since the end of the war.
Japan is on constant alert against neighbouring North Korea which has conducted two underground nuclear tests and more than 20 missile launches this year
Under the new budget, the ministry aims to beef up Japan’s ballistic missile defences, allocating funds for a new interceptor missile under joint development with the United States.