Japan to Buy Two US-Built Anti-Missile Systems

Randolph Lopez
December 20, 2017

With the Aegis Ashore, "we will be able to defend our country on a sustainable basis and our ballistic missile defense capability will improve drastically", Defense Minister Onodera Itsunori said a news conference.

Japan now has a two-layer missile shield: a ship-based Aegis system aimed at stopping short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles mid-flight, and ground-based PAC-3 interceptors to destroy warheads in their final stages of flight. It is the sea-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD).

The approval will allow the Defence Ministry to buy two Aegis Ashore systems to add to Japan's current two-step missile defence consisting of Patriot batteries and Aegis-equipped destroyers.

The complexes are to be deployed at range grounds of Japanese armed forces in northern and southwestern prefectures by 2023, but the terms for their deployment can be accelerated.

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe government made a decision to introduce two units of the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, aiming to strengthen the country's missile defense.

The government has chose to add a new layer of protection to the already existing two tiers of missile defences, the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers equipped with Standard Missile-3 interceptors and the Air Self-Defense Force's ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors.

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North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs pose a particular threat to Japan's national security. Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump urged Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to purchase more U.S. military equipment.

North Korea on November 29 tested a new, more powerful ballistic missile that it says can hit major USA cities including Washington, and fly over Japan's current defense shield.

Without it, Japan will not be able to fully utilize the extended range of a new interceptor missile, the SM-3 Block IIA, which cost about $30 million each.

A later upgrade, once the US military has deployed Spy-6 on its ships around 2022, could prove a costly proposition for Japan as outlays on new equipment squeeze its military budget.

Japan's military planners also evaluated the US -built THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) system before deciding on Aegis Ashore.

Tokyo is also planning to purchase US -built long-range cruise missiles, a decision that would prove controversial since Japan's post-World War Two pacifist constitution renounces war.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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