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Japan Approves Record Defense Budget Amid Fears of North Korean Nuclear Threat

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The Japanese cabinet on Friday voted for the largest budget on record for the next fiscal year that envisages high defense and social spending.

TOKYO (Sputnik) — The 97.7-trillion-yen budget for the year 2018, starting April 1, earmarked 5.19 trillion yen for defense expenses, up 1.17 percent from the previous year.

A large part of that money will be used to address the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile challenge after Pyongyang fired several missiles and conducted its biggest nuclear test this year.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15's test was successfully launched, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 30, 2017 - Sputnik International
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This includes plans to station two land-based Aegis missile defense systems, buy long-range Joint Strike Missiles and stud options for outfitting fighter jets with JASSM-ER air-launched cruise missiles.

The other big item in the budget is social welfare costs that will reach a historic 32.9 trillion yen. This includes social and medical security programs and pensions.

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