Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government plans to adopt a plan as early as mid-December to build two new destroyers focusing on ballistic missile defense, government and ruling coalition officials said Thursday.
The construction of two new destroyers is an alternative to an abandoned plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore land-based ballistic missile defense system.
The deployment of new vessels will allow seven existing Aegis destroyers to be converted to other missions including patrolling waters off remote southwestern Japan islands, the officials said.
But there is concern that two destroyers will not be enough to be on guard against ballistic missiles from North Korea for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, sources familiar with the situation said.
The government does not plan to mention new destroyers as Aegis vessels as the Maritime Self-Defense Force opposes expanding its fleet of Aegis destroyers that put heavy burden on it.