Japan military seeks record budget amid regional threats

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TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Defense Ministry is seeking a record-high budget of nearly 5.5 trillion yen ($55 billion) for fiscal 2021 to fund more purchases of costly American stealth fighters and expand its capability to counter possible threats in both cyber and outer space.

The budget request made public Wednesday is the the first under new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and would be an 8% increase from the current year, signaling a continuation of his hawkish predecessor Shinzo Abe’s security policy.

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Japan’s defense spending has risen for eight consecutive years since 2013, a year after Abe took office.

The rise in spending came as Abe pushed for Japan’s Self-Defense Force to expand its international role and capability amid threats from North Korea and China.