Japan okays record $42b defence budget

JAPAN’S cabinet has approved a record 4.98 trillion yen ($42b) budget for defence spending, amid a long-running maritime dispute with China.

The new budget represents a 2.8% rise from the previous fiscal year. It marks the third year of increased spending after a decade of cuts.

New Defence Minister, Gen. Nakatani, said it was needed to deal with the “changing situation” around Japan.

The money is expected to go towards patrol aircraft and vessels.

These include 20 maritime patrol aircraft, five crossover aircraft – which have both airplane and helicopter functionalities – and six stealth fighters.

The defence ministry is also planning to buy 30 amphibious vehicles and an early-warning aircraft, which can detect vessels and other aircraft from a long distance.

The approval comes after last year’s successful push by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reinterpret the country’s pacifist constitution and allow the military to come to the aid of an ally under attack, which some of Japan’s neighbours saw as a move towards increased militarism.

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