Tokyo, Dec. 21 (Jiji Press) — Japan’s land ministry plans to earmark a record 210 billion yen for the coast guard in the ministry’s initial budget for fiscal 2017 to beef up security around the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan, land minister Keiichi Ishii said Wednesday.
Also using funds from the fiscal 2016 supplementary budget, the Japan Coast Guard will build large patrol ships and research vessels.
Ahead of Ishii’s announcement, the Japanese government decided on a basic plan to boost maritime security to counter the Chinese government vessels, which are now larger and more heavily armed, at a meeting of related ministers.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave instructions to “continue to strengthen the maritime security system, and protect our bountiful sea,” in the meeting, responding to repeated intrusions by Chinese ships into Japanese territorial waters around the East China Sea islets, which are also claimed by China.
Previously, the largest initial budget for the coast guard was 189.1 billion yen in fiscal 2007.