Below is a comment from Mieko Nakabayashi, professor of American politics at Waseda University, on the three options on the table to replace Aegis Ashore.
None of the alternatives to the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system that are on the table now is completely convincing. The U.S. expects that the alternatives “will provide an opportunity for Japan and the U.S. to establish a better cooperation framework.” But at the same time, the U.S. is also anxious, thinking, “Are there really any good alternatives?”
Efforts are needed to find concrete alternatives to the Aegis Ashore by holding candid discussions about what roles the U.S. expects Japan to play. U.S. influence in the international community is diminishing on a relative basis, as the country becomes inward-looking. The U.S. places high hopes on Japan’s expanded role.
North Korea’s missile technology is improving, and it would be difficult to handle the missiles just by intercepting them. Deterrence does not function unless Japan and the U.S. can “strike back” at an enemy base when an enemy initiates preparations for an attack on Japan and it is likely to threaten Japanese lives.