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Japan defense budget hits record $50bn on new jet

Cost of developing stealth fighter spelled out for first time

The X-2 demonstrator, Japan's attempt at a homegrown stealth fighter plane, takes a test flight. (Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Defense)

TOKYO -- Japan's government seeks to increase defense spending to an all-time high of about 5.3 trillion yen ($48.8 billion) for the year starting April, earmarking funds for the first time to develop a next-generation fighter jet.

The proposed defense budget, including costs related to U.S. forces stationed in the country, would mark an eighth consecutive year of spending hikes as Tokyo bolsters its capabilities in such new domains as space, cybersecurity and electromagnetic pulse attacks.

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