Today: Saturday, 2 December 2023 year

The Japanese Ministry of Defense will accelerate the acquisition of Tomahawk missiles by a year.

The Japanese Ministry of Defense will accelerate the acquisition of Tomahawk missiles by a year.

Japan will accelerate the equipping of its self-defense forces with American Tomahawk missiles by a year – from fiscal year 2026 to 2025, Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said during a visit to the United States.

“It is necessary to accelerate the creation of a stand-off system given the very tough security situation,” Kihara said at a press conference after a meeting with Pentagon chief Austin.

Thus, the missiles will arrive in Japan not in 2026, as planned, but in 2025. However, this will not be the latest development, but missiles of the previous generation block-4, which are now in US service.

It was previously reported that to strengthen its “response defense capability,” Japan is modifying the so-called “Type 12 anti-ship missiles” as part of a program to develop stand-off missiles that can hit the enemy from an area beyond its reach. They should become one of the types of replacement for the American ground-based missile defense system Aegis Ashore, which Japan refused to deploy in 2020 due to the threat of upper stages falling on residential areas. The possibility of equipping destroyers, fighters and submarines with them is being discussed. The modified missiles will be able to hit targets at a distance of more than 1,000 kilometers. The high range of the missiles after modification will make it possible, if necessary, to hit targets in China or the DPRK. However, equipping the self-defense forces with them will begin no earlier than 2026. In this connection, the Japanese government has begun to consider the possibility of acquiring Tomahawk missiles to strengthen defense capabilities and deterrence forces for this period.

Japan’s intention to acquire Tomahawks was enshrined in three security documents adopted last December: the National Security Strategy, which defines the main directions of foreign defense policy; the “National Defense Strategy,” which outlines the goals and means of defense, and the “Defense Capacity Plan,” which defines overall defense spending and the scale of weapons.

The “National Security Strategy” and the “National Defense Strategy” stipulate the possession of “retaliatory strike capabilities,” which implies the defeat of enemy bases. Until now, these capabilities have been implied in Japan’s right to self-defense, but not spelled out. In this sense, this change represents a significant turn in Japan’s defense policy.