The Defense Ministry on Thursday requested a record-high budget of ¥5.26 trillion for fiscal 2018, underscoring heightened concern over what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the "unprecedented" and "grave" security threat posed by North Korea's military provocations.

This request, if approved by the government, would mark the sixth consecutive year of rise in the annual defense budget, which topped ¥5 trillion in fiscal 2017 for the second straight year.

The envisioned budget includes what the ministry calls "new assets" to defend against a ballistic missile attack by North Korea, including the land-based anti-missile system known as Aegis Ashore. The ministry didn't specify the sum needed for the system.