Tokyo, Feb 14 (EFE).- Japan’s Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Tuesday that Japan is planning to buy all the Tomahawk cruise missiles it requires from the US within the next fiscal year, as part of its new military strategy.
Hamada did not reveal the exact number of missiles, but local media outlets quoted government sources to report that the quantity would be around 500.
The Tomahawk missiles have a range of some 1,600 kilometers (about 1000 miles), enabling them to reach China’s coasts.
Japan is looking to acquire all the missiles in the next fiscal year, starting April 2023 through March 2024.
Japan’s draft budget for 2023 includes an allocation of 211.3 billion yen (USD 1.6 billion) for purchasing the missiles.
The purchase was initially planned to be carried out over several years, but Hamada said Tuesday that the new plan would be to secure “all of the required quantity” within the next fiscal year, local news agency Kyodo reported.
The minister did not offer any reason for speeding up the process.
The government would thus accelerate the implementation of its new security strategy which seeks to improve Japan’s deterrence using the acquisition of “counterstrike capabilities”.
Japanese authorities allude to a potential pre-emptive attack, in light of the current geopolitical context, with China’s increasing influence and military activity in the region, including its hostilities with Taiwan, an island country near southwest Japan, and North Korea’s continuous weapon development.
In late 2022, the Japanese government made a major shift towards its rearmament for the first time since World War II, with the policy documents mentioning that the Tomahawk missiles would support Japan’s deterrence until it becomes capable of deploying domestically manufactured missiles.
To achieve the latter goal, Japan plans to increase the range of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Type-12 surface-to-ship missiles, although it still has a long way to go in this regard.
Missiles developed by Japan are not expected to be deployed until at least 2026.
Therefore, the Japanese government is exploring ways to enhance its deterrence in the increasingly concerning security environment.
Turning to the Tomahawk missiles would be one of Japan’s alternatives, according to government sources. EFE