Japan announced it is putting aside Y24.7 trillion ($240 billion) between 2014 and 2019, with 5 percent more than the sum allocated during the previous five years – Y23.7 trillion.
The money will be used to buy drones, jet fighters and destroyers, and set up amphibious unit similar to US marines in order to fight against China’s growing military activity in a region that includes the Senkaku islands, which are the main reason for the territorial conflict between the two countries.
The Senkakus, located in the East China Sea, are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China.
Japan stated that the increase of the defense budget does not mean the country is necessarily breaking its postwar pacifism, according to the international press.
“The strategy is designed to make our foreign and security policy clear and transparent both at home and abroad,” Shinzo Abe said. “We will do our part in contributing to global peace and security further.”
However, “China’s stance toward other countries and military moves, coupled with a lack of transparency regarding its military and national security policies, represent a concern to Japan and the wider international community and require close watch,” Japan’s first national security strategy, launched on the same day as the defence guidelines, stated.
In return, China replied: “If Japan really hopes to return itself to the ranks of a ‘normal country’, it should face up to its aggression in history and cooperate with its Asian neighbours instead of angering them with rounds and rounds of unwise words and policies,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.