TOKYO: Japan will purchase 400 Tomahawk missiles from the United States, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday, as his government beefs up the country’s defenses with eyes on threats including China.
“Our country’s plan is (to acquire) 400 units” of the cruise missile, Kishida told the lower house budget committee without elaborating, citing the military sensitivity of the purchase.
Earlier this month, the defense minister said Japan has set aside 211.3 billion yen ($1.5 billion) to buy the missiles in the coming fiscal year, rather than dividing the procurement over several years.
Kishida’s government wants to dramatically expand Japan’s defense capacity in the face of China’s growing military clout and nuclear-armed North Korea’s unpredictable missile tests.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also stoked fears that China may move to take over Taiwan, a self-governed democracy claimed by Beijing.
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Japan has a pacifist post-war constitution, which limits its military capacity to ostensibly defensive measures.
But last year it updated key security and defense policies, explicitly outlining the challenge posed by China and setting a goal of doubling defense spending to the NATO standard of two percent of GDP by 2027.