Japan's Defense Ministry said on Friday it was seeking a three percent increase in next year's budget allocation, the biggest rise in 22 years, with most of the growth linked to revised personnel costs and equipment imports made more expensive by a weaker yen.
The budget request for the year from April 2014 comes as Japan remains locked in a territorial spat with China over uninhabited East China Sea islets, fraying ties between Asia's two biggest economies and raising security concerns.
Saddled with hefty public debt, Japan had been cutting its defense spending in recent years. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who returned to power last December for a rare second term pledging to stand tough in the islands row, increased this year's defense budget for the first time in 11 years.
The ministry said it planned to request 4.82 trillion yen ($48.97 billion) in budget appropriations, up 3.0 percent from the current year.
Land prices in Japan for this year fell 0.4 pct on average from the previous year, dropping for the seventh straight year but at a slower pace than the previous year's 0.7 pct, the government said Wednesday. (Jiji Press)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police last week confirmed that a body discovered buried in a cemetery in Kanagawa Prefecture is that of a 25-year-old woman who went missing two years ago. Police are now attempting to locate her son, reports the Sankei Shimbun (June 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
Japan's traditional kendama ball-and-cup toy has been reborn as a new sport and is attracting attention around the world. Professional players demonstrate their highly sophisticated techniques on Internet video sites, and a world championship event was held last year featuring the first monetary prizes to be awarded for kendama in Japan. (The Japan News)