Japan plans arms buildup to meet limited threats

Japan plans to improve its military capabilities over the next five years so it can defend its territory alone against limited aggression, government sources said.

They said that starting next year, the Japanese Defense Agency intends to spend up to $18 billion on equipment for its 240,000-strong armed forces. Total defense spending during the period would be about $63 billion, they said. Defense Minister Soichiro Ito outlined the plan to Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki Monday. The National Defense Council is to approve it formally on Friday.

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