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 resignation Monday of Yuko Obuchi, Japan's industry minister, was a heavy blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the cabinet he named last month. And there are concerns in the government and ruling parties that Obuchi is only the first in a string of coming cabinet resignations. (Nikkei)
Check the locks on all the Colonel Sanders statues in Osaka, because the Hanshin Tigers are headed back to the Japan Series and it was a big home run from a bearded foreign star that helped get them there. (Japan Times)
The government on Friday approved Central Japan Railway Co.'s plan to construct the Linear Chuo Shinkansen line, paving the way for the 2027 start of magnetic levitation train service connecting Tokyo and Nagoya in 40 minutes. (The Japan News)
The Nagano prefectural government's disaster response headquarters said Thursday it has decided to end its search this year for missing hikers on Mt. Ontake due to the growing risk of secondary accidents. (The Japan News)
On October 1, Hokkaido Prefectural Police arrested a 17-year-old girl for allegedly stabbing her mother and grandmother to death at the family's home in the town of Nanporo earlier in the day. (Tokyo Reporter)