Japan speeds up deployment of advanced long-range missiles for strategic deterrence

Defense Minister Minoru Kihara announced on Friday that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force will be accelerating the deployment of upgraded Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missiles. Originally scheduled for deployment in fiscal 2026, these missiles will now be put into service a year earlier, in fiscal 2025. These domestically produced long-range missiles are set to play a crucial role in bolstering Japan’s counterstrike capabilities and strengthening deterrence and response capabilities against potential threats from China and North Korea.

The improved version of the Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missile will boast an impressive increase in range, going from just over 100 kilometers to well over 1,000 kilometers. The initial plan was to deploy this ground-launched missile in fiscal 2026, but Minister Kihara has instructed the Ministry of Defense to expedite the process. He cited the urgent need to acquire practical stand-off defensive capabilities as the reason for moving up the deployment schedule.

Furthermore, the government also intends to accelerate the deployment of U.S.-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, with plans to begin their use in fiscal 2025, a year ahead of the originally scheduled timeframe.

The decision to hasten the deployment of these advanced guided missiles is part of Japan’s ongoing efforts to bolster its defense capabilities in the face of regional security challenges. With tensions rising in the Asia-Pacific region, particularly in light of China’s assertive actions in the East and South China Seas, Japan is keen to enhance its military preparedness and strengthen its ability to respond to potential threats.

The upgraded Type 12 surface-to-ship guided missiles and the inclusion of Tomahawk cruise missiles in Japan’s arsenal signify a strategic shift towards enhancing the country’s deterrence capabilities. These long-range and highly accurate missiles will significantly bolster Japan’s ability to defend itself and respond to potential aggressions, contributing to the overall stability and security of the region.

As Japan moves forward with the acceleration of its missile deployment plans, it is evident that the country is taking proactive steps to ensure its national security and protect its interests in the face of evolving geopolitical dynamics. The swift deployment of these advanced missiles underscores Japan’s commitment to maintaining a robust defense posture and safeguarding its sovereignty in an increasingly complex and challenging security environment.


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