(AP) Japan's defense minister says the country needs to boost its military spending to counter the potential threat from China's increasingly powerful armed forces and North Korea's long-range missiles.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday that Japan cannot afford to be complacent in the face of what he said were significant security issues in the region. His ministry announced last week it is seeking a 3 percent increase in defense spending for the coming year, the biggest increase it has requested in 22 years.
The increase reflects growing concern in Japan that it must move to counter a more assertive Chinese military amid territory disputes. Onodera also said North Korea's missiles are believed to be capable of hitting targets in Japan and reach as far as the U.S. West Coast.