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Japan"s military budget will swell to a record $47 billion for the next fiscal year, the government said on Friday, as Tokyo beefs up its missile defense and deploys stealth jets.
The military spending was part of a $912-billion national budget for the fiscal year starting in April 2019, approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe"s cabinet.
The government decided to set aside 5.26 trillion yen ($47 billion) for the military, the fifth record year in a row, Defense Ministry officials said.
The military funding will cover the cost of introducing the US military"s Aegis Ashore land-based missile interceptor system, the officials said.
The FY 2019 allocation covers six F-35A stealth jets, and part of it will be spent on Japan"s first aircraft carriers since World War II.
The budget is the initial allocation of Japan"s new five-year defense plan, announced on Tuesday as the latest in a series of steps under Abe to boost the nation"s military.
Under the multi-year program through March 2024, Japan will upgrade two existing helicopter carriers so that they can launch fighters.
Abe"s government argues the efforts are necessary given growing military challenges in the region.
But the move is controversial, with critics arguing it shifts Tokyo further away from its commitment to strictly defensive capabilities under Japan"s post-WWII Pacifist Constitution.
China expressed its "strong dissatisfaction and opposition" to the program unveiled on Tuesday, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urging Tokyo "to adhere to a purely defensive policy".
Japan"s new program came after pledges to buy more US military equipment, under pressure from US President Donald Trump.
The US leader has repeatedly complained about Washington"s huge trade deficit with Tokyo and also urged Abe to expand the country"s defensive capacity.
For his part, Abe has campaigned for years to amend Japan"s Pacifist Constitution, arguing that it ties the hands of the country"s Self-Defense Forces even in protecting the country"s allies from attack.
"The budget gain is part of Japan"s efforts to buy more US military equipment so that it can avoid a trade war with Washington," said Akira Kato, professor of international politics and regional security at Tokyo"s J.F. Oberlin University, adding that Tokyo"s military budget is expected to continue expanding.
Reuters contributed to this story.best fitness wristband uklittle rubber band braceletsmake your own rubber wristbandhospital wristbands uksilicone wristbands size chart