08/31/2017, 12.58
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Tokyo’s defence budget to reach US$ 48 billions in 2018

Fear of Kim Jong-un's threat fuels arms race. This is Japan’s sixth annual defence spending increase.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) Japan plans to boost defence spending next year by 2.5 per cent to 5.26 trillion yen (US $ 48 billion). This would be the sixth annual increase under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who ended a decade-long defence budget cuts.

Japan’s Defence Ministry made the request to parliament in response to the growing threat from North Korea.

The budget request covers appropriations for missile interceptors with expanded range, altitude and accuracy.

The ministry also sought 19.6 billion yen towards the development of a new radar system with improved abilities to detect and track ballistic missiles, as well as 10 billion yen to study technologies to create high-speed glide bombs.

Two days ago, a North Korean missile flew over Japan, ending up in the northern Pacific Ocean. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called Tuesday’s missile firing an “unprecedented, grave and serious threat.”

The next day, Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tokyo must quickly upgrade its missile arsenal.

The ministry also wants to add the land-based Aegis Ashore missile defence system, whilst considering an option for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), which is opposed by the Catholic Church in South Korea.

The Defence Ministry’s budget request comes as British Prime Minister Theresa May visited a Japanese warship Thursday to underscore, as she put it, “the growing cooperation and partnership that we have on defence matters.”

May and Onodera boarded the Izumo on Thursday at a naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo.

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