Japan sets defence budget rise amid ugly islands dispute with China
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan is planning to increase its defence budget this year for the first time in 11 years, the Defence Ministry's revised budget request showed on Friday, amid a bitter territorial dispute with China.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led his Liberal Democratic Party to a landslide victory last month, promising to beef up the military and stand tough in a row with China over East China Sea islets claimed by both sides.
"Our stance that we will adamantly protect our waters and territories has not changed at all. As I said before, there is no room for negotiations," Mr Abe told reporters after the government approved US$117 billion (S$141 billion) of spending to revive the economy.
The latest request is made up of 4.65 trillion yen (S$64 billion) in budget appropriations for the year starting on April 1, flat from the current fiscal year's initial budget, and a group of last-minute items for which costs have yet to be determined.