BEIJING, Aug. 31 (Xinhuanet) -- Japan's Ministry of Defense is seeking a fourth straight annual military budget hike to help strengthen protection of a string of southern islands in the East China Sea.
In a document submitted to the government on Monday, the ministry asked for a 2.2 percent increase in military spending to 5.1 trillion yen, or more than US$ 42 billion, for the year starting April. If approved, the new defense budget would be Japan's biggest in 14 years.
Among the items on the Defense Ministry's shopping list are 17 SH-60K naval patrol helicopters, with a combined price tag of 103 billion yen. It also wants three Global Hawk drones, six hi-tech F-35 stealth fighters and 12 V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport aircraft.
The latest budget request comes after a protest against the security bills by tens of thousands outside parliament on Sunday. Media surveys show those who oppose Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government outnumber backers.
And more than half are against the security bills. 90 percent of the country's legal experts consider the bills a violation of Japan's war-renouncing Constitution.