In a significant move to bolster its defense capabilities, Japan is set to acquire 400 Tomahawk missiles following the Pentagon’s approval of a $2.35 billion deal. This decision marks a crucial step in Japan’s efforts to enhance its military readiness amid evolving global security challenges.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in its recent announcement, emphasized the strategic importance of the sale.
“The proposed sale will improve Japan’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a long-range, conventional surface-to-surface missile with significant standoff range that can neutralize growing threats. Japan will have no difficulty absorbing these articles into its armed forces,” the agency stated.
Japanese Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, addressing a news conference, highlighted the deal’s significance. The defense minister noted that the acquisition of the missiles “will contribute to strengthening stand-off defense capabilities of our country.”
The advanced missiles, manufactured by Raytheon Technologies, are capable of striking targets up to 1,000 miles away. The missiles are a key component of the U.S. Navy’s arsenal and can be launched from Aegis destroyers operated by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
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According to Stars and Stripes, Japan’s defense spending this fiscal year amounts to $51.4 billion, reflecting the nation’s prioritization of its military strength. The Tomahawk missile purchase, initially planned for 2026, has been expedited to 2025 in response to what Japan’s Defense Ministry has described as a security environment in the region that is becoming increasingly severe.
Japan’s expected purchase of the 400 Tomahawk missiles comes amid regional tensions, with China possessing over 1,900 ballistic missiles capable of reaching Japan, as stated in a 2022 Pentagon report. Furthermore, North Korea’s recent surge in ballistic missile testing, with 21 missiles launched over 14 days of testing, adds to the urgency of enhancing Japan’s defensive capabilities, according to Stars and Stripes.
However, the Tomahawk sale has drawn criticism from North Korea, with a defense ministry official warning of heightened regional tensions and potential arms race escalation. The official, as reported by Japanese public broadcaster NHK, labeled the missiles as “lethal war equipment” and vowed to strengthen North Korea’s deterrence in response.
Japan’s decision to proceed with the Tomahawk missile purchase represents a strategic move to secure its national defense in an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape, reinforcing its position as a key player in maintaining regional stability.
This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.