Japan To Accelerate Purchase of Stand-Off Cruise Missiles Amid Security Concerns
Japanese Defense Minister Meets With US Defense Secretary
Tokyo, Japan - Japan's Defense Minister, Kihara Minoru, has announced plans to expedite the acquisition of stand-off cruise missiles, citing an increasingly severe security environment.
The decision comes in the wake of discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during Minister Kihara's inaugural trip to Washington, D.C. this week.
During their 55-minute meeting at the Pentagon, Minister Kihara and Secretary Austin discussed the escalating risk of an emergency in the Taiwan Strait, with speculation that China could potentially invade Taiwan by 2027.
In response, Japan has decided to bring forward its efforts to enhance stand-off defense capabilities.
Originally slated for fiscal years 2026 and 2027, Japan's plan involved the acquisition of 400 Block V Tomahawk cruise missiles, the latest version of its kind. These missiles were intended to be equipped onto Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Aegis-equipped destroyers.
However, Minister Kihara and Secretary Austin have agreed to accelerate the procurement process by one year, altering half of the missiles to the Block IV variant, an earlier version of the Tomahawk.
The Block IV missiles share the same impressive 1,600 km range as their Block V counterparts and have already been widely deployed. By bringing forward the introduction of the Tomahawk missiles, Japan aims to bolster its stand-off defense capabilities and address the evolving security landscape in the region.
While the specific number of missiles to be acquired in fiscal year 2025 has not been disclosed, this move underscores Japan's commitment to strengthening its defense posture and maintaining regional stability. The decision to expedite the acquisition process aligns with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio's recent cabinet shuffle, signaling Japan's proactive approach to national security under new leadership.
The Tomahawk cruise missiles, manufactured in the United States, are renowned for their precision, range, and versatility. With their ability to strike targets from a safe distance, these weapons enhance Japan's deterrence capabilities and provide a crucial defensive advantage in the face of potential threats.
Minister Kihara's announcement has garnered significant attention, both domestically and internationally.
As Japan takes proactive measures to address the evolving security environment, its commitment to regional stability and the preservation of peace remains unwavering.
Japan's decision to expedite the acquisition of stand-off cruise missiles reflects its dedication to ensuring national security in an increasingly uncertain geopolitical climate. By fortifying its defense capabilities, Japan aims to promote stability, deter potential threats, and safeguard its national interests.