Japan approves record defence budget amid tensions with China

TOKYO - Japan's Cabinet has approved a record-high military spending plan as Tokyo steps up co-operation with Washington amid China's increasingly assertive activity in regional seas.

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The 5.1 trillion yen ($42.1 billion) budget proposal endorsed Wednesday is up 1.5 per cent from this year. It would be the fourth annual increase under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who ended a decade of defence budget cuts.

The bill is part of the national budget plan for the year beginning April 2016. The plan requires parliamentary approval.

Japan is bolstering surveillance and defence of its southern islands, where it has a territorial dispute with China. The budget plan includes the purchase of surveillance aircraft, an advanced destroyer with missile-defence capability and F-35 fighter jets. It also includes submarine construction and sonar development.



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