TOKYO (AP) - Japan's Cabinet has approved the country' largest defense budget, with plans to buy surveillance aircraft and F-35 fighter jets to improve defenses of disputed islands amid China's assertiveness in the region.

TOKYO (AP) Japan's Cabinet has approved the country' largest defense budget, with plans to buy surveillance aircraft and F-35 fighter jets to improve defenses of disputed islands amid China's assertiveness in the region.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a nearly 5 trillion yen ($42 billion) budget for the year beginning in April, a 2 percent rise. The budget must still be approved by parliament.

The military outlays were included in a record 96.3 trillion yen ($814 billion) total budget for the coming fiscal year.

The increase mainly covers new equipment, including P-1 surveillance aircraft, F-35 fighter jets and amphibious vehicles for a new unit to boost island defenses.

Chinese patrol boats often visit waters near the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which are controlled by Japan.