Reuters: Japan's military seeks record spending to counter North Korea, China moves
Japan's defense ministry on Wednesday asked for a hike in spending to record levels, as it juggles its responses to a growing ballistic missile threat from North Korea and China's assertive moves in the East China Sea.
If approved, the hike of 2.3 percent will take the defense budget to 5.17 trillion yen ($51.47 billion) in the year starting April 1, for a fifth consecutive increase as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bolsters Japan's military.
The nation's Self Defense Forces are pivoting away from guarding the north against a diminished Russian threat to reinforce an island chain stretching 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) along the southern edge of the East China Sea.
That means opting for fewer tank divisions as they build a mobile amphibious force from scratch.