Japan’s Defense Budget for 2021 Hits New High Amid China Threats

File photo shows an F-15 fighter jet taking off from a Japan Air Self-Defense Force base in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, in April 2015. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government approved Monday a record defense budget for fiscal 2021 totaling 5.34 trillion yen ($51.6 billion) as it seeks to introduce longer-range missiles capable of attacking enemy vessels from outside their firing range, amid security challenges posed by China.

The draft budget is up 0.5 percent from fiscal 2020, including outlays linked to hosting the United States’ military bases, and has hit a record high for the seventh consecutive year as the country beefs up its ability to also deal with North Korea’s missile and nuclear threats.

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