Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone's government approved a 6.5 percent increase in Japan's defense outlays, falling short of what the US had urged for military spending in 1983.
''It's the maximum we could do,'' Mr. Nakasone said. ''I believe the United States would understand the situation. What I'm worried about most is a rift between Japan and United States.'' Japan's 1983 budget is an austere one, due to a recession-troubled economy.
The US Defense Department Thursday criticized the Japanese cabinet's decision.