Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan

State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan

Moscow criticized Japan's plans to expand its missile shield with Aegis systems, saying it could undermine bilateral relations "including negotiations on a peace treaty" that has not been concluded between Russian Federation and Japan since WWII. This sophisticated information system enables an Aegis destroyer to target a missile and fire an interceptor based on radar information provided by another Aegis vessel closer to the missile launch site.

The Trump administration announcement coincides with much anticipated high-level talks between Seoul and Pyongyang that were held in the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) on Tuesday.

The State Department has approved a possible $133.3 million deal with Japan for four Standard Missile-3 Block IIA missiles.

Onodera also said the government now intends to apply Aegis Ashore for intercepting ballistic missiles, but eventually hopes to develop the system to enable shooting of various types of missiles, including cruise missiles.

"At a time when North Korea is beefing up its ballistic missile capability, we need to strengthen our capability fundamentally", Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said. This would boost the number of interceptors available to counter a volley of missiles launched by North Korea.

A majority of Japan's spending will go towards US-built equipment, a move sure to placate the Trump administration which called on Japan and other USA allies to increase their defence spending.

The Japanese government is aiming at having the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy Aegis vessels share targeting information through this new system.

Japan announced its decision to expand its ballistic missile defenses in December using USA systems, including the ground-based Aegis radar and interceptor missiles. The two land-based Aegis Ashore units that will start operating from about fiscal 2023 are also likely to be linked to the new system, the sources said.

The Aegis system is geared towards intermediate range ballistic missiles.

A Pentagon statement on the most recent call between Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Japan Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera on January 9 says the two men "condemned North Korea's reckless and unlawful behavior".

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