Japan likely to build up defense spending due to Diaoyu Islands row

Source:Reuters Published: 2013-1-6 9:00:32

Japan's government is likely to increase defense spending for the first time in 11 years, Japanese media reported on Saturday, after newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged a sterner response to a territorial dispute with China.

The government is considering increasing defense spending by around 2 percent to more than 4.7 trillion yen ($53.4 billion) in the fiscal year starting in April, the Mainichi newspaper reported. But it gave no source for its information.

The extra spending would be used to increase personnel in the ground self-defense forces and upgrade equipment for land, air and maritime forces, the Asahi newspaper also reported on Saturday. It did not cite any sources.

Japan's defense ministry has scrambled F-15 fighter jets several times in recent weeks to intercept Chinese marine surveillance planes approaching the Diaoyu Islands.

The Japanese government "purchased" three of the islands from a private owner in September last year, sparking violent anti-Japanese protests across China, which claims the isles are part of its territory.

Related story: Japan fighters head off Chinese plane over Diaoyu

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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