Japan mulls spending $37 billion on long-range missiles

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Japan mulls spending $37 billion on long-range missiles

TOKYO Kyodo is considering spending around 5 trillion yen $37 billion to develop and deploy long-range missiles from fiscal 2023 to 2027, government sources said Tuesday. The nation aims to have an enemy base strike capability to address growing security threats.

The government is calling the homemade standoff missiles a counterstrike capability, due to China's military buildup and North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches, according to the sources.

The plan came a day after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida instructed defence and finance ministers to allocate around 43 trillion yen for the five years beginning April, more than 50 percent higher than its current five-year spending plan of around 27.47 trillion yen from fiscal 2019.

The government document detailing defense equipment development plans and necessary expenses for five years will have to be updated by mid-December. The sources said that around 5 trillion yen will be used to expand the range of the Type 12 surface-to- ship guided missiles, and to diversify launch platforms so that the projectiles can be fired from ships and aircraft.

Around 800 billion yen will be spent on the development of high-speed glide weapons for the defense of remote islands in southwestern Japan and hypersonic missiles that are difficult to intercept, according to the sources.

The government will use different types of drones, including offensive ones, to eliminate intruders and those able to operate underwater, as well as deploying missiles, according to the sources.

The National Security Strategy will be revised together with two other defense documents later this month, and will include the controversial idea of acquiring a counterstrike capability, which would allow Japan to fire upon and disable enemy missiles before they are launched from foreign territory.

To boost Japan's defense capabilities, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by Kishida has set a goal of nearly doubling Japan's defense spending to 2 percent or more of gross domestic product - a level that is on par with North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states over the next five years.

Japan has capped its defense budget at around 1 percent of GDP, or more than 5 trillion yen, while holding an exclusively self-defense oriented security posture under its war-renouncing Constitution.