TOKYO (Sputnik) : Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada confirmed the government’s plan to purchase 400 Tomahawk missiles “to strengthen self-defense capabilities.”
The defense minister’s statement sparked criticism from the opposition, who requested Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to explain how they arrived at this exact figure.
“We are considering the purchase of at most 400 missiles,” the prime minister specified.
Previously Japanese news agency reported that Tokyo is considering acquiring up to 400 US Tomahawk cruise missiles, сiting representatives of opposition parties.
Last week, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada announced plans to sign a contract with the United States to buy Tomahawk cruise missiles through Washington’s foreign military sales program. The Japanese authorities hope the contract will be signed in the fiscal year 2023, which starts on April 1.
In mid-January, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with US President Joe Biden to discuss the further strengthening of the military alliance between the two countries during his visit to Washington. At the meeting, Kishida indicated Tokyo’s plans to buy hundreds of Tomahawk missiles in order to increase Japan’s defense capabilities. Prior to the leaders’ meeting, Japanese media reported that Tokyo intends to buy up to 500 such missiles from the US by 2027.
Tomahawks with a range of 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles), which are capable of reaching North Korea and the Chinese coast, will help Japan to maintain its missile potential until it develops its own weapon systems, according to Kyodo.