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Japan urges China to make military spending transparent

TOKYO (AFP): Japan called on China to increase the transparency of its rising military spending after Beijing announced it would raise its defence budget by 7.5 per cent this year.

"We have been strongly asking China to make its defence spending more transparent," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told reporters on Thursday.

"Our careful monitoring will continue on the reality" of the Chinese military spending, he said.

Tokyo has long urged Beijing to detail clearly its spending on its expanding military, with many analysts suspecting that the communist regime spends more than it publicly admits.

Hirano's comment came after China unveiled its military budget proposal for 2010, which showed an increase of 7.5 per cent from last year's actual defence spending to 532.1 billion yuan (USD 77.9 billion).

The figure breaks a string of double-digit increases going back many years that has caused worry among China's neighbours and the United States over the objectives of an effort to rapidly modernise its once-backward armed forces.

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