Japanese Defense Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to consider a $49 billion budget for the 2014 fiscal year in a move to boost the military’s capabilities to protect his country, the Agence France-Presse reported Friday.
The article says the budget, which represents a three-percent increase from last year, comes as foreign equipment has become more expensive due to a lower yen.
An objective of Japan’s Defense Ministry is to acquire funding for the formation of a special unit like the Marines that would be tasked to protect disputed islands from attacks or invasion, according to AFP.
The report states a significant portion of the suggested budget is intended to account for human resources as the country is anticipated to end a years-long salary freeze for government employees.
The rest are set aside for various defense programs that include research and development activities, procurement of aircraft, vehicles and weaponry and enhancements to cybersecurity platforms.
It also adds next year’s proposal follows a 0.8-percent hike in initial defense spending for the 2012 FY and could serve as the largest increase in the Asian nation since 1992 if approved.
AFP disclosed part of Abe’s defense policy is to strengthen defense ties with the U.S. in line with President Barack Obama’s goal to support Asia as Japan and China deal with territorial disputes.
The article notes the 2014 FY in Japan will commence in April.