Japan sets record $52 bln military budget

Japan's Prime Minister approved a record high military budget proposal on Monday for the country's ninth consecutive year.

It includes funding the country's first stealth fighter jet in three decades from American arms producer, Lockheed Martin.

The country's cabinet secretary says Japan must strengthen its military to counter China's growing regional presence.

Katsunobu Kato:

"We as the Japanese government need to make our defence operations more efficient to correspond to the increasingly severe security environment."

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's record budget proposal jumped 1% from last year and with his party being the majority in parliament, it's likely the Ministry of Defense will receive the almost $52 billion in April.

Despite a constitution that forbids the possession of offensive weapons, Japan is one of the world's biggest military spenders.

Suga is continuing in the controversial footsteps of predecessor Shinzo Abe - who reversed more than a decade of military cuts.

Suga's administration is considering training Japan's Self-Defense Forces to strike distant land targets in China, North Korea and other parts of Asia.

China plans to raise its military spending by almost 7% this year.