Japan on Wednesday announced plans to develop and build a series of advanced long-range missiles to bolster its defenses amid rising tensions with its neighbor China.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Defence, it has contracted with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to design and manufacture these weapons on a large scale until 2027.
In December, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that he would increase defense spending and allow Japan to possess “counter-strike capabilities” to attack Japan’s territory directly. These acquisitions, valued at more than $2.8 billion, are the result. A foreign nation in the event of a crisis and under certain conditions.
By taking up the new defense initiatives, Japan is twisting the interpretation of its post-World War II constitution, which placed restrictions on its Self-Defense Forces to the effect that they can only be used for what their name implies, defending the Japanese homeland.
According to the Ministry, serial manufacturing of two types of previously developed missiles by MHI will begin this year under the terms of the agreements: Type 12 ground-launched guided missiles, intended to strike ships at sea, and hypersonic glide missiles, intended for island defense. These weapons are scheduled to enter service in 2026 and 2027.
The Defense Ministry statement does not indicate how many missiles each type will be purchased.
Meanwhile, MHI will begin work on improved Type 12 variants that can be fired from aircraft and ships this year. Janes, a news outlet covering the defense industry, said that the new and improved Type 12 could travel up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), which is a fivefold increase from the previous model’s range.
Concurrently, MHI will initiate the development of submarine-launched missiles that the fleet of conventional boats of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force could discharge.
In December, Kishida instructed his defense and finance ministers to generate funds to increase Japan’s defense budget to 2% of GDP by 2027.
Kishida announced in February that Japan intended to purchase up to 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States and develop its own missiles. Tomahawks can strike targets up to 1,600 kilometers distant (1,000 miles).
Japan’s military expansion comes amid rising tensions with China, which has increased its naval and air forces in areas close to Japan while also laying claim to the Senkaku Islands, an uninhabited chain controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. as sovereign territory.
Meanwhile, China has increased its military pressure on Taiwan, the self-ruling island whose security Japanese leaders say is vital to Japan’s.
Earlier this week, Japan sent fighter jets as a group of Chinese aircraft carriers approached within 230 kilometers of the southern Japanese island of Miyako while simulating attacks on Taiwan. Last August, Chinese military exercises around Taiwan included the launch of ballistic missiles, some of which landed in Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone.