Japan’s Cabinet Approves Aegis Ashore Purchase

Japan’s Cabinet approved a plan to purchase two Aegis Ashore systems on Tuesday in response to the growing North Korean missile threat. During a press conference, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera stated, “We cannot say what the final costs will be, but we will move ahead [to introduce Aegis Ashore] on the fastest possible schedule, given public calls that the government should deal as swiftly and urgently as possible with the ballistic missile defense issue.” The estimated cost is more than ¥100 billion for each site, but the exact cost will not be revealed until the release of the FY 2018 budget. The Defense Ministry aims to have the system operational by 2023 at two sites, which are yet to be determined. Japanese media reports that the government is considering Akita in northern Japan and Yamaguchi in southwestern Japan as possible candidates to host the systems.