TOKYO, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Japan's budget for next fiscal year may include allocations for new tanks and a new helicopter-carrying destroyer, sources told the Kyodo news agency Wednesday.
The new items would help maintain the deterrence and response capabilities of Japan's Self-Defense Forces, which currently has about 900 tanks, the report said. Of those, about 200 were procured in the 1970s and may need to be replaced.
The previous Liberal Democratic Party, which lost the elections in August, had asked for 58 new tanks but the new government led by the Democratic Party of Japan has since cut that number to 16, the report said.
The new government in October asked for about $1.3 billion for the helicopter-carrying destroyer in view of China's growing maritime activities, the report said.
The Defense Ministry also expects to use the destroyer, which will not have any offensive capabilities as required under the pacifist Constitution, for better response in large-scale disasters, evacuation of Japanese during overseas emergencies, and international peace cooperation activities, the sources told Kyodo.