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.
The popular "pear fairy" cartoon mascot Funassyi held its first press conference with the foreign media in Tokyo on Thursday, saying its unlikely path to success is a symbol of the country's admiration of perseverance in the face of adversity. (Japan Times)
One of the two 17-year-olds arrested over the killing of a 13-year-old boy last month along the Tama River in Kawasaki has admitted to harming the victim but said he was only following the orders of an older teenager also in custody, investigative sources said Thursday. (Japan Times)
A total of 706 incidents linked to "dangerous," or quasi-legal, drugs were detected by police in Japan in 2014, up 5.6-fold from the preceding year, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
A report released Wednesday by the International Narcotics Control Board revealed that Mexican drug cartels have extended their reach to Japan, where methamphetamine seizures have doubled compared to the previous year. (UPI)
Japan's idol world is quite…expansive, for lack of a better word. Even with the wide variety of groups running around, it can be hard to really tell them apart-though we have to say there was no mistaking Osaka's Obachaaan for any other group. (rocketnews24.com)
Microsoft Corp. cofounder Paul Allen said on Twitter Tuesday the Imperial Japanese Navy's World War II battleship Musashi has been found at the bottom of the Sibuyan Sea off the central Philippines. (Jiji Press)
The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. Misao Okawa, the daughter of a kimono maker, made the comment Wednesday, at a celebration a day before her 117th birthday. Appropriately, she was wearing a pink kimono decorated with cherry blossom prints. (nydailynews.com)