Japan Approves Deployment of New Land-Based Missile Shield

Kristopher Drake
December 20, 2017

In a statement, the Japanese government noted that North Korea's nuclear and missile development posed a new level of threat to the country.

The nation's Cabinet on Tuesday approved the acquisition of two Aegis Ashore systems capable of defending the entire country against incoming missiles.

"We can not say what the final costs will be, but we will move ahead (to introduce Aegis Ashore) on the fastest possible schedule, given public calls that the government should deal as swiftly as possible and urgently with the ballistic missile defense issue", Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said at a press conference.

Japan is now protected by destroyers equipped with US Aegis missile defense systems as well as surface-to-air Modernized Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) ballistic missile interceptors.

Japan's government, on Tuesday, chose to beef up its missile defence systems to ward off the rising threat of Asian neighbour, North Korea, local media reported. The deployment of these systems is explained by the sharply increased missile threat from North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has trumpeted his country's nuclear program
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has trumpeted his country's nuclear program

Japan now boasts a two-layer missile shield, which is a ship-based Aegis system that functions to stop short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles mid-flight, and ground-based PAC-3 interceptors, used to destroy warheads during flight, reports Bloomberg.

Initially, it was supposed to pay about 80 billion yen (almost $ 705 million) for one Aegis Ashore complex. Therefore the government decided that Cabinet approval is necessary to introduce Aegis Ashore. For research and other expenses involved in installing the system, the ministry has requested about ¥2.8 billion for the fiscal 2017 supplementary budget and about ¥730 million for the fiscal 2018 budget.

The Aegis Ashore batteries will be armed with SM-3 Block IIA and SM-6 interceptors.

The government plans to start selecting areas for the facilities, but the deployment could trigger concern among residents living nearby, as the system's radars emit strong radio waves.

Last month, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-15, it claims can strike United States cities, although experts have questioned whether a missile carrying a nuclear payload, and flying on a standard trajectory, would be capable of covering that distance.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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