Japan to buy Tomahawk cruise missiles from US sooner than planned
Andreas Pogiatzi
Published on 06/10/2023 at 15:43

Japanese Defence Minister, Minoru Kihara, said on Wednesday 10/4 that Tokyo will procure Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US earlier than planned in response to growing security challenges in Asia.

Kihara’s statements were made during his live meeting with the US Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, in Washington.

As part of operational preparations to acquire counterattack capabilities and target enemy bases, if necessary, Japan plans to buy 400 Tomahawk missiles, which have a strike range of about 1,600 kilometers (994 miles), according to the country’s media.

Even though both Ministers acknowledged in their statements the need to strengthen Japan’s missile capabilities, with the procurement of Tomahawk Block-4 missiles, which will begin in fiscal year 2025, they avoided talking about a formal agreement, as approval is still pending by Congress.

Japan had wanted to buy Tomahawk Block-5s in fiscal years 2026 and 2027 for deployment on the Japanese Navy’s Aegis destroyers, but under the new revised plan, Japan will receive up to 200 Tomahawk missiles of an earlier version between 2025 and 2027, whereas the rest of the market will consist of newer missiles delivered on schedule.

Kihara emphasized that this program change will greatly enhance Japan’s defence capabilities sooner. The Japanese government has spent 211.3 billion yen ($1.4 billion) in the fiscal year 2023 budget for the procurement of missiles.

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