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

  • Lava crashes through roof of Hawaii tour boat, injuring 23

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- An explosion caused by lava oozing into the ocean sent molten rock crashing through the roof of a sightseeing boat off Hawaii's Big Island, injuring 23 people Monday, officials said. A woman in her 20s was in serious condition with a broken thigh bone, the Hawaii County Fire Department said. Source
  • Protesters camped outside Saskatchewan legislature taking province to court

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- Protesters camped outside the Saskatchewan legislature say they are taking the government to court over six arrests made last month. The people were taken into custody June 18 when Regina police enforced an eviction order. Source
  • Mother of girls shot at playground calls for community programs to stop gun crime

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The mother of two young girls who were hit by stray bullets at a Toronto playground last month called Monday for better education and community support programs, not increased police presence, to curb gun violence in the city. Source
  • Ontario's chief coroner testifies at Elizabeth Wettlaufer inquiry

    Canada News CTV News
    Unusual patterns of deaths in long-term care homes are not always tracked or analyzed because some death reports are not filed electronically, as rules require, the province's chief coroner said Monday. Dr. Dirk Huyer's assessment came at the public inquiry examining the circumstances that allowed 51-year-old Elizabeth Wettlaufer to kill eight elderly patients living at long-term care homes in southwestern Ontario. Source
  • 'Great meaning for peace': Russians react to Putin-Trump summit

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russian media saw Monday's highly anticipated summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump as a heartening step forward, with the Kremlin leader as the more prominent figure. After their joint news conference in Helsinki, Russia media also took some swipes at U.S. Source
  • Disqualified UCP candidate stands behind calling Islam an 'evil cult'

    Canada News CBC News
    A now-disqualified United Conservative Party candidate is defending racist and anti-Islam comments he made on social media that prompted his removal from the southern Alberta ballot. The posts, in which he calls the religion an "evil cult," came to light only days before party members were set to vote in the district of Brooks-Medicine Hat for their representative to run under the UCP banner in the 2019 Alberta election. Source
  • U.S. intel chief stands by assessment of Russian meddling

    World News CTV News
    Trump questions U.S. intelligence, not Putin, on Russia 2016 meddling Source
  • Pro-gun activist charged with acting as Russian agent in U.S.

    World News CBC News
    A 29-year-old Russian woman living in Washington has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian government while developing ties with American citizens and infiltrating political groups, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday. Source
  • Toronto board of health to urge federal government to decriminalize drug use

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The board of health in Canada's most populous city decided Monday to push the federal government to decriminalize all drugs and is calling on Canadians to turn their recommendation into a national movement. Source
  • World Cup protesters get 15 days in jail, sports event bans

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Two of the four protesters who barged onto the field at the World Cup final in Moscow have been sentenced to 15 days in jail. The protesters, members of the Pussy Riot punk collective, ran onto the pitch at Luzhniki Stadium dressed as police officers during the second half of Sunday's match between France and Croatia. Source