Japan's defense minister has said that his ministry will consider requesting a larger budget for the next fiscal year to "drastically" strengthen defense capabilities in a bid to deal with China's intensifying military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region and the renewed North Korean missile and nuclear threats.

Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said in an interview Monday with Kyodo News that the ministry will go ahead with discussions on a controversial plan that would allow Japan, which has long held an exclusively defense-oriented policy under its war-renouncing Constitution, to acquire so-called enemy base strike capabilities.

"The defense budget is a major indicator that shows the nation's will," Kishi said. "We want to ensure a budget that is enough to strengthen our defense capabilities drastically" for the fiscal year through March 2024.