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Japan's defense ministry to seek record budget for fiscal 2018

Spending focuses on North Korean missile threat, Chinese expansion at sea

TOKYO -- Japan looks to consider its largest-ever defense budget, with a big chunk of the funds to go to containing the upgraded ballistic missile threat from North Korea.

The Defense Ministry will ask for 5.25 trillion yen ($47.9 billion) covering the year starting in April 2018, a 2.5% increase from the sum initially allocated for fiscal 2017. Japan's defense spending has grown every year since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assumed office in 2012.

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