Japanese cabinet agrees on high-record 2016 defence budget

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet approves record-breaking defense budget amid concern with China's growing activity in regional seas

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks in a meeting with cabinet ministers

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet agreed on a high-record annual defence budget for fiscal 2016 on Thursday, focusing on the country’s military over territorial rows and China's growing activity in regional seas.

The cabinet plans to set out a 5.05 trillion yen ($41.8 billion) budget for the fiscal year starting next April. The package requires parliamentary approval.

The defence budget would rise 1.5 percent from this year which was the previous record high, and marks the fourth straight annual increase in defence spending.

In September, Abe pushed through security bills into law, a move that could allow Japanese Army to fight overseas for the first time in 70 years.

The aim of Abe's attempt is building a military with its biggest ally, the United States, and with an eye on a possible escalation of tensions with China.

"We expect the latest procurement would contribute further to cooperation between Japan and the United States," a defence ministry official told reporters.

The official said the latest military budget, which was demanded in August, have not reflected the new law and if the new legislations will need bigger budgets in future years, the ministry will study.

"This budget is appropriate for marking the first step toward our fiscal plan, while managing both economic revival and fiscal consolidation," Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters.

TRTWorld and agencies