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Japan's military seeks record-setting budget of $47B

By Elizabeth Shim
Japan's military seeks record-setting budget of $47B
Japan is seeking increased spending on missile defense and surveillance in response to provocations. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Japan is seeking yet another record-setting defense budget to deter North Korea and China.

Tokyo's defense ministry wants to set aside $47.6 billion for fiscal year 2018, an increase of 2.5 percent from last year, Stars and Stripes reported.

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The proposal comes at a time when North Korea's provocations are escalating tensions in the region.

Pyongyang's latest midrange ballistic missile, the Hwasong-12, flew over Japan before dropping in the Pacific Ocean.

RELATED U.S., Japan, South Korea make show of force after Pyongyang missile test

"Based on North Korea's nuclear and missile developments reaching a new level of threat [the ministry] will initiate equipping with a new asset," Japan's budget proposal read.

The latest test has prompted Tokyo to call for more sanctions against the relatively isolated country.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has supported increases in military spending since assuming office in 2012.

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Tokyo is not only worried about North Korea advancements in missile technology, but has also been coping with Chinese boats trespassing into Japan-claimed waters.

Chinese naval activities in the East China Sea are being met with a proposal to build two escort ships at $872 million, and construct a submarine with improved surveillance capabilities for $647 million.

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North Korea's missile threats are to be met with increased missile defense, making it possible Japan will soon deploy the land-based Aegis Ashore, Kyodo News reported.

RELATED U.S. Navy shoots down test missile off Pacific coast

Japan's naval destroyers, equipped with the Aegis combat system and Standard Missile-3 interceptors, are currently in deployment.

In the event of their failure, the air force's Patriot Advance Capability-3 interceptors would then be prompted to launch a counterattack.

About $177 million is being sought for an improved radar system that can detect and track ballistic missiles, according to the report.

On Thursday, Japan conducted joint drills with the United States Air Force, Kyodo reported.

Japan's F-15 fighter jets flew with the U.S. B-1 bomber over waters south of the Korean peninsula.

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