Japan to raise budget amid China row
TOKYO - Agence France-PresseJapan will raise military spending this year for the first time in over a decade under a ruling party plan, an official said yesterday, as Tokyo summoned Beijing’s envoy amid a territorial row.
The national defense task force of the newly-elected Liberal Democratic Party will increase the defense budget request by more than $1.15 billion in response to an emboldened China, a party official said. The relatively small amount, just over two percent of the total military budget, is largely symbolic, but reflects anxiety at what Japan sees as an increasingly hostile region in which China appears happy to throw its weight about. “We have decided that the additional budget will be used for research into a new radar system as well as fuel and other maintenance costs for early-warning aircraft,” the official said.
The news came as the foreign ministry called in China’s ambassador to protest the latest dispatch of official vessels into waters around the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands. The summons was the first under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and reflects the tough line he pushed on China during the campaign trail in December.