Japan decided Friday to increase its coast guard budget to around 320 billion yen ($2.3 billion) in fiscal 2027, up 1.4-fold from the initial outlays in 2022, as tensions rise near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet said it will deepen coordination among the coast guard, police and the Self-Defense Forces as official Chinese vessels have repeatedly intruded into Japanese territorial waters around the uninhabited islets that Beijing claims and calls Diaoyu.

File photo taken in September 2013 shows a China Coast Guard vessel (back) and a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel sailing in parallel in the contiguous zone near the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands. (Kyodo)

Kishida said at a ministerial meeting that the coast guard will be equipped with four large patrol vessels as part of efforts to strengthen Japan's maritime security system.

The coast guard will also proactively utilize large unmanned aircraft, which it started operating earlier this year, and coordinate with foreign maritime security authorities to boost monitoring of surrounding waters.

"To protect the safety of Japanese waters, the government will bring together all the power possessed by related ministries and agencies," Kishida told the meeting, part of which was open to the media.

The development came in line with the government's update of the National Security Strategy and two other key documents on national security.

As part of the closer coordination between the coast guard and the SDF, joint exercises will be conducted based on the scenario of the coast guard being placed under the command of the defense minister in the event of an emergency, such as a direct attack on Japan.

The government last revised Japan's maritime security system in December 2016.

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