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With Pyongyang still a threat, Tokyo eyes record defense budget

Pressure from Trump to reduce trade surplus further pushes up spending

Japan is importing pricey American defense equipment like the F-35A stealth fighter to reduce its trade deficit with the U.S.

TOKYO -- Japan's Ministry of Defense plans to seek a record budget of around 5.3 trillion yen ($47 billion) for fiscal 2019 as security threats from North Korea and China as well as trade tensions with the U.S. necessitate more spending.

The spending request, to be finalized in late August, includes costs for deploying the Aegis Ashore missile defense system, at a cost of roughly 100 billion yen per unit. The ministry will select a radar supplier for the system as soon as July, with plans to have the system operational by fiscal 2023.

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