Japan adds $6.7 billion to military budget in rush to bolster air and sea defenses

Japan is planning to add 6.75 billion dollars to its already record annual military spending in a rush to bolster air and maritime defenses as it becomes more concerned about threats posed by China and North Korea.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government approved the outlay as part of a supplementary budget. The 774 billion yen that lawmakers will be asked to approve is the largest amount ever, according to Japan’s Ministry of Defense.

The cash injection will let Japan, three months earlier than planned, upgrade surface-to-air missile launchers on islands at the edge of the East China Sea and Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries elsewhere that are the last line of defense against any incoming North Korean warheads.

According to the Defense Ministry, the extra spending will also let Japan more quickly acquire anti-submarine missiles, maritime patrol planes and military cargo jets.

The proposed supplemental spending combined with defense outlays approved for the year to March 31 comes to about 1.3% of Japan’s GDP.

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