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Nearly half of Japan's defense priorities underfunded

Fighter jet modernization and transport planes among the programs behind schedule

Japan has budgeted funds for only seven of the 10 C-2 transport planes it plans to purchase. (Photo courtesy of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force)

TOKYO -- More than 40% of key defense hardware that Japan plans to introduce by the end of fiscal 2018 has not been fully budgeted for, and even some that has is behind schedule for deployment, leaving potentially serious gaps in this country's security capabilities.

The delays come even as Japan's defense spending climbs to new heights. The fiscal 2018 budget proposal approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government in December seeks a record 5.19 trillion yen ($45.8 billion) for defense, a 1.3% year-on-year increase.

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