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Defense Ministry seeks funds for long-range cruise missiles

The Defense Ministry requested on Dec. 8 additional funds in the fiscal 2018 budget for introducing long-range <1> cruise missiles that would be loaded onto Self-Defense Forces aircraft.

If another country occupied a remote Japanese island or launched a similar <2> invasion, the ministry would aim to attack from outside the enemy forces’ weapons <3> range by extending the range of the SDF’s missiles. The missiles would be used to enable the SDF to retake territory.

The ministry requested the additional funds for two purposes. The first, for ¥2.16 billion, is to purchase joint strike missiles (JSMs). The second, for ¥30 million, is for research on modifying <4> F-15 fighters and other aircraft so they can be equipped with Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM-ER) missiles and Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASMs). JSMs loaded onto F-35 fighters would be used to attack targets on the ground or warships. JASSM-ER missiles are for attacking targets on the ground. LRASMs are for attacking both ground targets and warships.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the missiles would make it possible “to respond to enemy fleets or <5> landing forces invading our country’s territories without approaching them closely.” The minister also said, “[The missile introduction] would not run counter to <6> the exclusively defense-oriented policy.”Speech

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