With eye on China, Japan to develop longer-range anti-ship missiles

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 18, 2020, 03:04 PM(IST)

(File Photo) Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The missiles will allow Japan to expand anti-access area denial (A2AD), a strategy meant to stop foreign forces from operating close to Japanese territory

Japan said on Friday that it will develop longer-range anti-ship missiles that can target ships around its southwestern Okinawa island chain, including near disputed islets in East China Sea on which China also lays claim. Japanese Defence Minister said that security environment around the islands had "become harsh" and that Japan needed to "respond"

"The security environment around our southwestern islands has become harsh. We have to respond to that in an appropriate way," Japanese Minister of Defence Nobuo Kishi said at a press briefing.

The missiles will allow Japan to expand anti-access area denial (A2AD), a strategy meant to stop foreign forces from operating close to Japanese territory.

The first major defence policy decision by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga comes as Japan acquires air-launched missiles that could be used to hit missile sites in North Korea and is considering other strike weapons such as cruise missiles that could reach ground targets in China.

Japan has become concerned about Chinese activity in East China Sea. The incursions into Senkaku islands' waters has been a major worry as well. China calls these islands Diaoyu and has a dispute with Japan over them.

Japan said its new standoff missile will be based on a 200-km (124-mile) range truck-mounted anti-ship version already deployed on the Okinawa islands.

The ministry did not say what range it will have or when they will be deployed.

Japan also said on Friday it planned to put new powerful Aegis radars with at least three times the range of older Aegis systems on two new warships in order to reinforce defences against any ballistic missiles fired by North Korea.

"Defending Japan's southwestern islands requires longer-range systems because the islands cover a large area and Japan needs overlapping fields of fire," said Zack Cooper, a research fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.

(With Reuters inputs)

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