US President Joe Biden expressed his hope that Japan would increase its defence budget during a phone call with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in October, Japanese media reported on Saturday.
Biden's remarks came as Kishida is showing eagerness to ramp up Japan's defence outlays amid China's rise, Kyodo News reported citing a diplomatic source.
So far, Japan has kept its defence budget around 1 per cent of the country's gross domestic product in view of the passive Constitution.
On Saturday, the Japanese Prime Minister vowed to strengthen the country's defence capabilities.
Kishida's remarks came during a speech at a Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) base, where he expressed concern about North Korea's rapid development of missile technology and China's military expansion, Kyodo News reported.
When Japan revises its foreign and security policies, Kishida said all options will be on the table including the idea of giving the Self-Defense Forces the capability to strike at hostile enemy bases.
Kishida said Japan "cannot overlook (North Korea's) recent development and improvement of new technologies such as hypersonic glide weapons and missiles with irregular orbits".
The Japanese PM also pointed towards China's moves to strengthen its military without maintaining sufficient transparency. "China continues to strengthen its military without sufficient transparency and is making "unilateral attempts to change the status quo," Kishida said.
Earlier, Kishida had also expressed strong concern over human rights issues in China during his remarks at a virtual meeting of leaders from about 50 Asian and European countries on Friday.
Kishida voiced worries about the rights situation in Hong Kong as well as the Xinjiang region in northwestern China on the sidelines of the summit. (ANI)