Japan will boost military budget for first time in 3 years

Japan will boost its military budget for the first time in three years, according to a government budget draft obtained by Fox News.

The outlays will increase by $6.75 billion to roughly $37.7 billion, the Japan Times reported.

The budget was approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet in Tokyo last year but must be approved by Parliament.

Abe is seeking to boost the defense budget and projects to counter China’s military dominance.

Last year, Japan increased the defense budget by about 1 percent to about $36.3 billion, the lowest since 2009.

The 2019 spending will cover the purchase of Aegis-equipped destroyers and upgraded aircraft carriers, according to the Japan Times.

Abe’s move comes amid “great uncertainty” from China’s increasing assertiveness in the East and South China Seas and the prospect of a possible clash with North Korea, according to the Japan Times.

Abe says the budget will not increase Japan’s force protection across the region and will not increase Japan’s contribution to UN peacekeeping missions, according to the Japan Times.

Abe says his goal is to have the military base enhance readiness at home and abroad by buying more stealth fighters and Aegis destroyers to defend the country’s main islands.

The United States under President Trump has agreed to maintain a strong military presence in Japan.

However, experts point out that a potential clash with China is highly unlikely.

“A potential conflict with China is not the bottom line goal here. It is strictly complementary to deterrence purposes,” former security adviser Kazuo Muraoka told the Japan Times.

The New York Times also contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Japan Times.

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