Japan plans to deploy more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to increase 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 around 1,000 kilometers, which would be enough to reach Chinese coastal areas as well as North Korea, the newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources. sources.
Improvements should also be made to allow existing Japanese ships and planes to be able to fire the new missiles, which could hit land targets, the newspaper reported.
The missiles would be deployed in and around the southwestern region of Kyushu and on the small islands that dot Japan’s southwestern waters near Taiwan, Yomiuri reported.
Japanese officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The plan is part of Japan’s attempt to narrow the missile capability gap with China, while responding to threats from North Korea, the newspaper said.
The Japanese military is not officially recognized in the country’s postwar constitution, and defense spending is limited to funding nominally defensive capabilities.
Recent geopolitical tensions, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasingly aggressive stance on Taiwan, have prompted growing calls for Japan to review defense programs.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has pledged to dramatically increase defense spending, which has been kept at around 1% of gross domestic product (GDP).
Local media also reported that Japan’s Defense Ministry is likely to request 5.5 trillion yen ($40.2 billion) for the next fiscal year, up slightly from the 5.18 trillion requested for the current fiscal year. Classes.
But the ministry also had to seek approval for a list of non-tariffed items, including the development cost to upgrade long-range cruise missiles, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said.