TOKYO - Japan will purchase 400 Tomahawk missiles from the United States, said Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Monday, as his government beefs up the country’s defences with eyes on threats including China.
“Our country’s plan is (to acquire) 400 units” of the cruise missile, he told the Lower House budget committee without elaborating, citing the military sensitivity of the purchase.
Earlier in February, Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada said Japan has set aside 211.3 billion yen (S$2.09 billion) to buy the missiles in the coming fiscal year, rather than dividing the procurement over several years.
Mr Kishida’s government wants to dramatically expand Japan’s defence capacity in the face of China’s growing military clout and nuclear-armed North Korea’s unpredictable missile tests.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also stoked fears that China may move to take over Taiwan, a self-governed democracy claimed by Beijing.
Japan has a pacifist post-war Constitution, which limits its military capacity to ostensibly defensive measures.
But in 2022, it updated key security and defence policies, explicitly outlining the challenge posed by China and setting a goal of doubling defence spending to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation standard of 2 per cent of gross domestic product by 2027. AFP