The Tomahawk cruise missile is undergoing flight tests over California territory. US Navy’s photo
TOKYO – Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada confirmed the government’s plan to buy 400 Tomahawk missiles “to strengthen self-defense capabilities.”
The defense minister’s remarks sparked criticism from the opposition, which asked Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Fumio Kishida to explain how they arrived at this exact figure.
“We are considering buying at most 400 missiles,” the prime minister said.
Earlier Japanese news agencies reported that Tokyo was considering acquiring up to 400 US Tomahawk cruise missiles, citing representatives of opposition parties.
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Last week, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada announced plans to sign a contract with the United States to purchase Tomahawk cruise missiles through Washington’s overseas military sales program.
Japanese authorities hope the contract will be signed in the 2023 fiscal year, which starts on April 1.
In mid-January, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with United States (US) President Joe Biden to discuss further strengthening the military alliance between the two countries during his visit to Washington.
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During the meeting, Kishida indicated Tokyo’s plans to buy hundreds of Tomahawk missiles to enhance Japan’s defense capabilities.
Before the leaders’ meeting, Japanese media reported Tokyo intended to buy up to 500 such missiles from the US by 2027.
The Tomahawk with a range of 1,600 kilometers is capable of hitting North Korea and the Chinese coast. “The missile will help Japan maintain its missile potential to develop its own weapons systems,” said the Kyodo report.
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