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Japan to boost military budget amid China row

Published on Jan 8, 2013 11:53 AM
This file aerial shot taken on Sep 15, 2010 shows the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China in the East China Sea. Tokyo summoned the Chinese ambassador on Jan 8, 2013 for the first time under the new nationalist government to "strongly protest" against the presence of Chinese official ships in waters around disputed islands. -- PHOTO:  AFP

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan will increase military spending in 2013 for the first time in more than a decade, the ruling party said on Tuesday, as Tokyo summoned the Chinese ambassador over a simmering territorial row.

The newly-elected Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) national defence task force has decided to boost the defence budget request by more than 100 billion yen (S$1.4 billion) in response to an emboldened Beijing, a party official told AFP.

The relatively small amount is likely symbolic, but it reflects anxiety over what Japan sees as an increasingly hostile region, where China is seen as throwing its weight around.

"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.

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