A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) Type 74 armoured tank takes part in an annual new year military exercise with the JGSDF 1st Airborne Brigade at Narashino exercise field in Funabashi, east of Tokyo January 11, 2015. (Reuters / Yuya Shino)

Japan’s government has approved its largest military budget in 70 years, in contravention of the country’s pacifist constitution, in a display of force to its highly militarized neighbors. The extra military spending comes amid a stalling economy.

READ MORE: Japan seeks biggest-ever defense budget amid China tensions

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet has given the green light to an unprecedented nearly 5 trillion yen ($42 billion) defense budget, which comes into force in April. The extra military expenditure mirrors an expanded overall budget, which has reached a record 96.3 trillion yen ($814 billion). The budget still awaits parliament’s approval, where the government coalition headed by Abe has a majority in both houses.

The 2 percent increase in military spending is the third hike during Abe’s rule. Since he took office in December 2012, Abe ended the 11-year decline in defense spending. In 2002, Tokyo passed its previous highest military budget of 4.96 trillion yen.

This budget will contribute to achieve both economic recovery and regaining fiscal health together,” PM Abe said at a press conference Wednesday.

In line with plans announced in late 2013, Abe’s Cabinet plans to spend 24.7 trillion yen between 2014 and 2019 on military hardware, including on amphibious vehicles, drones, fighter jets and submarines.

Japan’s military purchases consist mainly of US-made military hardware and homemade weaponry.

Tokyo intends to buy six 5th-generation F-35A stealth fighter jets (reportedly for $148 million apiece), as well as five US-made Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft (which have an estimated price tag of $68 million each).

By RT News
Read more at RT News

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