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.
Economic damage from the recent strong earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture and nearby areas in southwestern Japan stands between some 2.4 trillion yen and 4.6 trillion yen, an estimate by the Cabinet Office said Monday. (Jiji Press)
Hyogo Prefectural Police have arrested a 67-year-old man for attacking a 61-year-old female neighbor and her daughter, who later died, at an apartment building in Amagasaki City, reports NHK (May 20). (Tokyo Reporter)