Japan ' s Defense Ministry says it is looking for a three percent rise in next year ' s budget allocation that is the largest increase in more than two decades.
The ministry said on Friday that it wants to request over 4.8 trillion yen ($49 billion) in budget appropriations, up three percent from the current year. The three-percent rise in the budget request for the year from April 2014 represents a second-straight annual increase after a 0.8-percent rise in the initial budget for the current fiscal year to March 2014. If approved, the budget will mark the largest hike since fiscal year 1992. Under the request, the ministry wants to establish a special amphibious unit and spend 1.3 billion yen to purchase two amphibious assault vehicles. Tokyo also intends to increase partaking in US-led training programs with the US Marines. The request comes as Japan and China have been engaged in a dispute over the sovereignty of the group of the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which are called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The disputed islands are currently controlled by Japan and form part of the Okinawa Prefecture. Meanwhile, the Japanese navy plans to purchase a 73.3-billion-yen destroyer, a 51.3-billion-yen submarine, and a 50.8-billion-yen submarine rescue ship. In another move to reinforce its defenses, the ministry intends to have a battery of PAC-3 surface-to-air anti-ballistic missile systems permanently located at its Tokyo headquarters. The ministry also seeks 24 billion yen for programs regarding cyber defense while more than 3.5 billion yen will go toward studies of technologies to detect and track stealth jets. In recent months, China and South Korea have expressed unease about Tokyo’s plans towards bolstering its military.