Japan seeks for record defense budget

Japan seeks for record defense budgetJapan is planning to develop a prototype drone fighter jet in two decades with private sector help in a technology strategy that focuses on weapons communications and lasers, Reuters reported Friday.

The announcement from Defense Ministry will come this month together with its request for a record budget of 5.16 trillion yen ($51 billion) for 2017.

The military technology plan calls for first developing an unmanned surveillance aircraft in the next decade and then an unmanned fighter jet 10 years later, the document showed.

The military budget rises as Japan is keen to stiffen its defenses after North Korea upgrades its ballistic missile technology and there is still some tensions in the East China Sea.

However, one security analyst said the spending was insufficient. "The security environment surrounding Japan is severe, due to neighboring North Korea and China," said Takashi Kawakami, a security expert at Japan's Takushoku University.

Japan will this month formally unveil budget requests for its defense and other ministries for the year ending March 2018. The defense ministry's request includes costs to upgrade Japan's PAC-3 missile defense system, production of the Block IIA version of the Standard Missile-3 system. The ministry also plans to acquire an upgraded version of the F-35 stealth fighter in U.S. Another aspect includes the cost of strengthening the coast guard in the southern islands of Miyakojima and Amami Oshima.
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