Japan’s Defense Ministry requested 212 billion yen ($2.4 billion) in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s stimulus package, as the country seeks to maintain control of islands also claimed by an increasingly assertive China.
Included in the request are funds for extra PAC-3 missile interceptors and upgrades for F-15 fighter planes, according to a document distributed by the ministry. Abe, who vowed to boost funding for the military and coast guard upon taking office last month, will finalize on Jan. 11 about 12 trillion yen in extra spending for the year ending in March.
Japan dispatched eight F-15 fighters in response to an incursion last month by a Chinese plane into Japanese-controlled airspace around the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Chinese government ships have repeatedly entered Japanese-controlled waters in recent months and been warned off by the Coast Guard, and Japan yesterday summoned China’s ambassador to Tokyo to protest an incursion this week.
The dispute over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea was reignited in September when the Japanese government bought three of them from a private Japanese landowner, sparking violent demonstrations in China and damaging a $340 billion trade relationship.
The extra funding would come on top of the defense budget of 4.6 trillion yen for the year to March 2013. The ministry will also seek to raise next year’s defense budget by about 120 billion yen, reversing the downward trend of the last decade.
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