Japan PM points to beefed-up military in speech
TOKYO (AFP) - Japan faces a "diplomatic and security crisis", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday, a day after his defence minister announced plans to strengthen the military amid a bitter dispute with China.
The proposal to raise the defence budget by $546 million or about 0.8 percent in the year starting from April sparked criticism from Beijing.
The plan also calls for a small increase in personnel for the 228,000-strong military, the first such rise in about 20 years.
Mr Abe, in his first speech to parliament since taking office last month, spoke of "continuous provocations" faced by his country, "causing us to face a diplomatic and security crisis".