In recent weeks, Japan’s intention to place a massive order for Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States has come to light.
The government of Fumio Kishida wants to reinforce its armament and obtain the capacity to counterattack targets at long range to deter threats from its adversaries such as China, Russia, and North Korea.
The decision was announced with the publication of the new National Security Strategy.
Japan negotiated with the United States to purchase up to 500 TLAM (Tomahawk Land Attack Missile).
As reported by Military Zone, Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force would choose the BGM-109 Tomahawk Block V, the latest version manufactured by Raytheon Missiles & Defense, which the US Navy started to receive in 2021.
According to the Japanese prime minister’s comments in front of the budget committee of the lower house of the national legislature, “the Tomahawks, which our country plans to buy, are the latest version available, have various abilities, including the ability to evade interception.”
Kishida also stressed that acquiring this type of missile is considered from the point of view of the need to increase the country’s defense capability.
The Tomahawk is a subsonic cruise missile with a maximum range that varies depending on the type used but generally does not exceed 2,500 km.
Last December 16, 2022, the Japanese government approved a new national security strategy.
In particular, this new fundamental defense policy document prescribes the right to launch counterattacks against targets in the territory of a potential enemy, although applying a preemptive strike in the territory of the alleged enemy is not allowed.
This strategy also made it official to increase defense spending by 2027 to 2% of GDP, allocating in its 2023 defense budget up to US$1.59 billion for acquiring the aforementioned weaponry through Foreign Military Sales.
According to analysis articles in Japanese media, it is believed that the new weapons would be placed on the southern island of Kyushu, the third largest in the Japanese archipelago and close to China, North Korea, and Russia.
Kyushu is ideal for projecting power in the East Asian region, as even without deploying hypersonic weapons, the island nation would pose a serious threat to its neighbors.
In addition to the Tomahawk acquisition, local media outlet Sankei published about the US intention to deploy hypersonic ballistic missiles that the US does not yet have in service.
The article refers to the Dark Eagle long-range hypersonic weapon (LRHW), a project in progress with a stated range of 2,775 km.
No official announcement has been made, but the discussion between the two governments has been reported.
During the debate in the Lower House, former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba called on the government to discuss with the US the possibility of Tokyo’s involvement in planning decisions related to nuclear weapons.
According to the former chief military department official, such a “joint ownership” formula would not violate Japan’s refusal to possess such weapons.
Regarding the use or deployment of nuclear weapons, Kishida gave a decisive answer before the Lower House on Wednesday, February 15: “Japan does not plan to participate in decisions on the use of US nuclear weapons.”
The prime minister reminded lawmakers that the government of Japan does not recognize the principle of so-called “joint ownership” of US nuclear weapons, nor does it intend to participate in making decisions on their deployment and use.
Days before this heated debate in the legislature, Japan’s Vice Foreign Minister Tokyo Mori noted that the government is concerned about Russia’s alleged “nuclear rhetoric”.
He advanced that “the situation in Ukraine will be one of the most important issues” at the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.
“Japan is seriously concerned about Russia’s nuclear weapons threat. [Such a threat is absolutely unacceptable, and Russia should not use nuclear weapons under any circumstances,” Mori said from Washington.
NATO SECRETARY GENERAL’S VISIT TO JAPAN
In late January, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Iruma military base in Saitama Prefecture to strengthen military ties and cooperation.
Stoltenberg told reporters that a “Russian victory in Ukraine would embolden China at a time when it is strengthening its military, bullying its neighbors, and threatening Taiwan.”
“Beijing is watching closely and learning lessons that may influence its future decisions. What is happening today in Europe could happen tomorrow in East Asia,” the NATO secretary general said after his meeting with Kishida in Japan.
“Let me express my full support for strengthening the partnership between Japan and NATO. We live in an increasingly dangerous and increasingly unpredictable world. And that is why we need strong partnerships between countries and alliances that believe in freedom and democracy,” Stoltenberg said.
With information from Derecha Diario