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Japanese cabinet approves record $43.6 billion defense budget

Staff Writer | December 22, 2016
Japan’s cabinet approved a record defense budget of around $43.6 billion for the 2017 fiscal year.
Shinzo Abe
Asia   The fifth annual increase
This is the fifth annual increase since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office.

Kyodo news agency cited finance ministry officials as saying that the 1.4-percent increase to a 5.13 trillion yen budget was in response to security threats including China's “maritime assertiveness” and North Korea's ballistic missile development.

Under Abe’s government, Japan’s legislature passed security bills under which the country has expanded the scope of operations by its troops overseas after a reinterpretation of its pacifist post-World War II constitution.

The constitution’s reinterpretation has allowed for "collective defense" - defined as being able to come to the assistance of formal allies, such as the United States and "close partners."

Abe’s cabinet plans to submit the 97.45 trillion yen ($831 billion) draft budget approved Thursday - which covers the fiscal year starting in April - to the Diet early next year.