The government has initiated a study into developing a sea-based missile defense system in place of the land-based Aegis Ashore system. The two proposals made so far are for missile launchers and radars for tracking and pursuing incoming missiles to be installed on offshore platforms or to be mounted on ships. A new proposal for a sea-based system has been floated, and it would involve building new ships exclusively for missile defense. The government hopes to make a final decision on missile defense by the end of December, when the initial FY 2021 draft budget is finalized.
This development was learned from multiple government sources. The land-based Aegis Ashore plan failed as inaccurate explanations and lax preparations by the Defense Ministry caused distrust among local communities. A senior government official said that no local government would host the land-based Aegis Ashore [at this point], reiterating, “It would be impossible to install land-based radars and launchers.” (Abridged)