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 nation's nuclear watchdog has put the kibosh on plans by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to start freezing underground soil at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant--a stunningly expensive project intended to solve the crisis of accumulating radioactive groundwater at the site. (Asahi)
An LDP lawmaker who created a stir in conservative Japan by filing for paternity leave when his child was born now stands accused of flagrant double standards over an alleged extramarital relationship with a model. (Japan Times)
Japanese actor Ken Watanabe was diagnosed with an early-stage stomach cancer, his agent said Tuesday, adding the actor, who starred in a Broadway musical in 2015, has already undergone endoscopic surgery to remove it. (Kyodo)
The Japanese government decided at a cabinet meeting Tuesday to withdraw its recommendation of Christianity-related historic facilities and sites in Nagasaki and Kumamoto prefectures for addition to the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Jiji Press)
Following a stabbing incident that left one woman dead and another injured, Hokkaido Prefectural Police announced on Monday that a 30-year-old man is wanted in connection with the crime, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo Reporter)