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    A soldier from Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force helps to prepare surface-to-ship missile launchers at Camp Naha in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture (File)

    Japanese Defense Ministry to Seek Record-High $52Bln Budget in 2017

    © AFP 2019 / TORU YAMANAKA
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    Japan’s Defense Ministry will make a record-high 2017 budget proposal of 5.17 trillion yen ($51.7 billion) in a bid to ensure better protection from perceived threats coming from China and North Korea, local media reported Friday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – According to the Nikkei newspaper, the ministry believes that the budget increase is necessary due to the growing North Korean missile activity and tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

    Among other things, the budget, which is set to be 2.3 percent larger than in the fiscal year 2016, will be spent on acquiring the Standard Missile-3 Block IIA next-generation missiles developed jointly with the United States. These missiles are set to be deployed on Japanese warships for protection against North Korean missile threat.

    The budget proposal also reportedly includes upgrade to the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) interceptors, also put in place to deter a potential Pyongyang attack.

    In response to the alleged Chinese maritime activity near Japanese shores, the ministry is expected to propose to upgrade surface-to-ship missiles stationed on the Sakishima Islands in the Okinawa prefecture and the US-designed F-15 fighters deployed at a military base in Okinawa.

    The budget increase is the fifth in a row, as under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the Defense Ministry has been receiving greater funding each year since 2013.

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    defense budget, SM-3 Block IIA, PAC-3, Japanese Defense Ministry, Japan
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