By MARI YAMAGUCHI
TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Cabinet has approved a $6.8 billion request for an extra defense budget through March to expedite the purchase of missiles, anti-submarine rockets and other weapons amid rising concern over the escalation of military activities by China, Russia and North Korea. The request, still pending parliamentary approval, brings Japan’s military spending for the current year to a new high of more than $53.2 billion, up 15% from 2020. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that two Chinese H-6 fighters and two Russian aircraft flew from the Sea of Japan to the East China Sea and to the Pacific Ocean, triggering Japanese Self-Defense Force jets to scramble. The budget request includes the advanced version of PAC-3 mobile surface-to-air missile interceptors and equipment.