Japan to Submit Extra Budget to Reinforce Missile Defense Capabilities

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Japanese government officials have announced a 2.9 trillion yen (25.9 billion USD) supplementary budget for missile defense and other programs related to North Korea that will be submitted for approval for the fiscal year through March. According to an unnamed source, Japan is also considering the acquisition of strike missiles, including the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) and Joint Strike Missile (JSM). According to those sources, “There is a global trend for using longer range missiles and it is only natural that Japan would want to consider them.” The original budget of 5.26 trillion yen (46.76 billion USD) originally submitted by Japan’s Ministry of Defense does not include the two missiles Japan is reportedly interested in acquiring. Purchase of offensive missiles also raises constitutional concerns within Japan. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has stated that “We are not currently looking at funding for this,” and “We rely on the United States to strike enemy bases,” which means that possible changes to the sharing of roles between Japan and the United States are not being pursued.