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Japan targets record defense spending in new 5-year plan

$240bn program shows readiness to increase US arms buying

A man stares at a model F-35 fighter jet. Japan wants to counter China and close its trade deficit with the U.S. by purchasing more advanced equipment like the F-35.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan looks to expand its defense spending to a record 27 trillion yen ($240 billion) over five years through fiscal 2023 as it confronts both security challenges and trade tensions with the U.S.

The proposed spending responds to China's military buildup and seeks to reduce Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. -- which has drawn criticism from President Donald Trump -- through additional purchases of American equipment.

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