Asia - Pacific

Japan plans to buy 500 Tomahawk cruise missiles from US in one go

Amid growing tensions in region, defense minister says Tokyo to buy all bulk in fiscal year 2023

14.02.2023 - Update : 14.02.2023
Japan plans to buy 500 Tomahawk cruise missiles from US in one go


Japan is mulling buying about 500 US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles in one go from Washington amid growing tensions in the region, local media reported on Tuesday.

Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada said that Tokyo plans to buy all the bulk in the fiscal year 2023 instead of an earlier plan to buy in several years, Kyodo News reported.

The minister did not share more details with reporters regarding the change in their earlier plan and the number of missiles to be bought.

However, the agency cited government sources that Japan will purchase about 500 Tomahawks from the US.

In October 2022, local media reported that Tokyo intends to purchase sea-launched Tomahawks with a range of up to 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) and the ability to travel relatively low to the ground.

In December 2022, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's Cabinet decided to allocate $1.6 billion for the procurement of Tomahawk missiles, according to the report.

Japan's decision to buy the US Tomahawk appeared in the media after North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan for the first time in five years on Oct. 4, last year, prompting Tokyo to impose additional sanctions on Pyongyang.

Although Japan is working to extend the range of its Type-12 surface-to-ship guided missiles for the Ground Self-Defense Force, its indigenous missiles will not be in use until fiscal 2026, according to the agency.

On Monday in a meeting in Washington, the US, Japanese, and South Korean senior diplomats agreed to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threats together.

“The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) continued to threaten the ROK (Republic of Korea), Japan and its neighbors and the world with the launch of an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles last year,” Yonhap News Agency quoted US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman as saying.

“Standing united, our nations will deter the DPRK and urge it to give up its nuclear weapons program and abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions,” she said while speaking at a joint news conference along with her South Korean counterpart, Cho Hyun-dong, and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori.

* Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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