Japan's defense budget tops 5 T. yen for first time

Baku, December 25, AZERTAC

Japan's defense spending under the fiscal 2016 state budget, adopted Thursday, rose above 5 trillion yen for the first time, boosted by outlays to strengthen the defense of remote islands in response to China's maritime expansion, according to Jiji Press.

Defense spending set aside for the year from April came to a record 5,054.1 billion yen, eclipsing the previous high of 4,980.1 billion yen in fiscal 2015 and rising for four years in a row.

With the Defense Ministry facing the growing need to procure equipment for remote island defense, Japan's defense spending may remain at high levels for years to come.

To step up warning and surveillance activities around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, the ministry earmarked 102.6 billion yen for the acquisition of 17 units of the SH-60K reconnaissance helicopter with increased attack capabilities. The figure is on a contract basis also covering payments in fiscal 2017 and beyond.

The uninhabited East China Sea islands are under Japan's administration, but China also claims the islands, which it calls Diaoyu.

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