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Japan mulls long-range missile upgrades due to China threat: report

#Japan #mulls #longrange #missile #upgrades #due #China #threat #report

Japan is considering deploying more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to improve its ability to counter growing regional threats from China, local newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sunday.

The country plans to upgrade its existing surface-to-ship missiles to extend their range from 100 kilometers (62 miles) to about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), which would be enough to reach Chinese coastal areas as well as North Korea, the newspaper reports citing unnamed sources.

Retrofits would also need to be made to allow Japan’s existing ships and planes to fire the new missiles, which could hit land-based targets, the newspaper reported.

The missiles would be deployed in and around the southwestern Kyushu region and on the small islands that dot Japan’s southwestern waters near Taiwan, Yomiuri said.

Japanese officials could not be immediately reached for comment on the matter.

The plan is part of Japan’s attempt to close the missile capability gap with China while addressing threats from North Korea, the newspaper said.

Japan’s military is not officially recognized in the country’s post-war constitution, and defense spending is limited to funding nominal defense capabilities.

Recent geopolitical tensions, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasingly aggressive stance on Taiwan, have led to growing calls in Japan for a defense program review.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to significantly increase defense spending, which is kept at around 1 percent of GDP.

Local media also reported that Japan’s defense ministry is expected to request 5.5 trillion yen ($40.2 billion) for the next fiscal year, slightly higher than the 5.18 trillion requested for the current fiscal year.

But the ministry was also expected to seek approval for a list of unpriced items, including development costs for upgrading long-range cruise missiles, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said.

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