Japan approves record-high military spending plan

TOKYO -- Japan's Cabinet approved a record-high military spending plan Thursday, endorsing proposals to purchase pricey U.S. surveillance drones and F-35 fighter jets as Tokyo steps up co-operation with Washington amid China's increasingly assertive activity in regional seas.

See Full Article

The 5.1 trillion yen ($42.1 billion) proposal is part of a 96.7 trillion yen ($800 billion) national budget plan for the year beginning April 2016, also an all-time high. The entire package requires parliamentary approval.

Military spending would rise 1.5 per cent from this year, the fourth annual increase under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who ended a decade of defence budget cuts.

The defence budget is the first since Japan enacted new security legislation in September enhancing the country's military role and since Japan revised its bilateral defence guidelines with the U.S. earlier in the year to allow broader co-operation between the two allies.

The new security law divided Japanese public opinion, with opponents saying it would increase the possibility of Japan becoming embroiled in a U.S.-led war.

Japan is bolstering defence of its southern islands, where it has a territorial dispute with China. The budget plan also includes the purchase of an advanced Aegis radar-equipped destroyer with missile defence capability, submarine construction and sonar development.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei urged Japan to "draw lessons from history, adhere to the path of peaceful development, and play a constructive role in safeguarding regional peace and stability." He said Chinese defence policy is "defensive in nature," and its military spending is kept at "a reasonable level."

Japan's Defence Ministry plans to spend 14.8 billion yen ($118 million) next year for part of a multibillion-dollar, multi-year purchase of three "Global Hawk" unmanned drones, as well as 138 billion yen ($1.1 billion) for six F-35 fighter jets and 23 billion yen ($190 million) for a Boeing KC-46A midair refuelling aircraft.

"We believe the budget includes items that would contribute to enhancing Japan-U.S. co-operation in the area of ISR (information, surveillance and reconnaissance)," Defence Ministry official Tomoki Matsuo said.

Japan also pays 193 billion yen ($1.6 billion) a year for about 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan under a bilateral security treaty, more than half of them on Okinawa -- a major source of friction between the central government and residents of the southern island frustrated with the decades-long burden.

The cost of moving some of them to Guam and a contentious plan to move a U.S. Marine air base from the crowded Futenma area to a less-populated part of Okinawa was also added to the budget.

Japan is constructing a Soryu-class submarine, among the world's largest, and developing a new sonar system. It is competing against Germany and France to jointly develop Australia's next-generation submarine fleet.

In a bid to step up its island defence, Japan is also purchasing 17 SH-60K helicopters and 36 combat tanks as well as amphibious vehicles.

Associated Press writer Louise Watt in Beijing contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Equifax CEO retires amid fallout from data breach

    World News CBC News
    Equifax CEO Richard Smith is retiring less than three weeks after the company admitted to a cybersecurity breach that had exposed the personal information of 143 million Americans. The Atlanta-based company's board made the announcement before markets opened on Tuesday that the 57-year-old Smith is retiring from both positions after 12 years leading the company. Source
  • House panel demands details on Trump aides' private emails

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A top House Republican has demanded details on the use of private emails by some of U.S. President Donald Trump's closest advisers. Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina conservative who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the top Democrat on that panel, Rep. Source
  • Trump's shocking Howard Stern segments surface: On Princess Diana, Britney Spears and more

    World News Toronto Sun
    On Monday, newly surfaced transcripts and audio of radio host Howard Stern's interviews with Donald Trump presented a fuller picture of their many conversations on Stern's talk show before Trump's political aspirations turned serious. The shock jock and the future president's banter was filled with raunchy talk about celebrities, their sex lives - and whatever Trump was hawking at the time, whether it was a book or one of his beauty pageants. Source
  • Budding hemp industry nipped by poor weather, thieves in N.B.

    Canada News CTV News
    New Brunswick's budding hemp industry is celebrating modest gains despite a poor growing season and the theft of 1,000 plants. “We’re going to have low to moderate yields this year just because of the environment,” hemp farmer Kevin Cain told CTV Atlantic on Monday. Source
  • Trudeau milking the middle class [Video]

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s most-repeated boast has now been exposed as a lie. Despite his Zen-like mantra of dedicating his political life to bettering the lives of Canada’s middle class, a come-hither line bought by a gushing electorate in the 2015 election, the truth now has him milking the middle class as if it were a cash cow. Source
  • Palestinian gunman kills 3 Israeli guards at West Bank settlement, Israeli police say

    World News CBC News
    A Palestinian man with security clearance to work at a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank opened fire at a checkpoint on Tuesday, killing two Israeli security guards and a paramilitary policeman. The man, who was armed with a pistol and also seriously wounded a fourth Israeli, was shot dead, police said. Source
  • Doomsayer David Meade now claims Oct. 15 will be 'the most important date of this century or millennium'

    World News Toronto Sun
    The man whose biblical doomsday claim had people worried about Sept. 23, 2017, is not backing down. The world did not end over the weekend, and David Meade, a self-described "specialist in research and investigations," is saying that's exactly what he had expected. Source
  • Myanmar accused of crimes against humanity

    World News CBC News
    Myanmar is committing crimes against humanity in its campaign against Muslim insurgents in Rakhine state, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, and it called for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions and an arms embargo. Source
  • Fears of Bali volcano eruption sparks leads to exodus of 75,000

    World News CTV News
    BALI, Indonesia - Warnings that a volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali will erupt have sparked an exodus of more than 75,000 people that is likely to continue to swell, the country's disaster agency said Tuesday. Source
  • Fears of Bali volcano eruption spark exodus of 75,000

    World News CTV News
    BALI, Indonesia -- Warnings that a volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali will erupt have sparked an exodus of more than 75,000 people that is likely to continue to swell, the country's disaster agency said Tuesday. Source