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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

Gov’t mulls producing indigenous long-range cruise missiles

  • December 28, 2017
  • , Sankei , p. 1
  • JMH Translation

The government mulls shifting to producing indigenous long-range cruise missiles on Japan’s own, bearing in mind the option of acquiring the capability of striking enemy bases, the Sankei Shimbun learned on Dec. 27. The government aims to complete a prototype in fiscal 2022. It has already decided on a plan to purchase long-range cruise missiles from the U.S. and other countries, but it judged that in order to deal with the North Korea situation in which the tension is growing, and deal with China’s maritime expansion, Japan needs to beef up its defense capability through domestic production. The government also aims to curb costs for purchasing equipment from overseas and promote the domestic industry’s growth, multiple sources said.


The government has earmarked costs in its fiscal 2018 draft budget to procure long-range cruise missiles from the U.S. and Norway. The former’s range is 9,000 km and the latter 5,000 km.


“Having long-range cruise missiles will enable Japan to strike enemies from outside the range of their threat, which will significantly increase the safety of Air Self-Defense Force pilots,” explained a Defense Ministry official.


On the other hand, the range of the Self-Defense Forces’ anti-ship missiles is about 170 km. Although Japan can technically shift to the domestic production of long-range cruise missiles, the development of such missiles has been shelved from the standpoint of its “defense only” policy.


The matter was discussed during a meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party’s Research Commission on Security (chaired by Gen Nakatani) held on Dec. 12 and some members voiced their opinion, with one of them saying, “If Japan decides to possess long-range cruise missiles, we should also consider shifting to domestic production.”


“We have taken into consideration criticisms that the domestic production of long-range cruise missile would go beyond the limits of Japan’s defense-only policy, but the situation has changed due to the North Korea situation,” said an LDP member lobbying for national defense. “To combine long-range cruise missiles with Japan’s capability of attacking enemy bases, it’s only natural to shift to domestic production.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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