Japan confirms its scrapping US missile defense system

Japan's National Security Council has endorsed plans to cancel the deployment of two costly land-based U.S. missile defense systems aimed at bolstering the country's capability against threats from North Korea, the country's defense minister said Thursday.

The council made its decision Wednesday, and now the government will need to enter negotiations with the U.S. about what to do with payments and the purchase contract already made for the Aegis Ashore systems.

The council is expected to also revise Japan's basic defense plan later this year to update the missile defense program and scale up the country's defense posture.

Defense Minister Taro Kono announced the plan to scrap the systems earlier this month after it was found that the safety of one of the two planned host communities could not be ensured without a hardware redesign that would be too time consuming and costly.

The Japanese government in 2017 approved adding the two Aegis Ashore systems to enhance the country's current defenses consisting of Aegis-equipped destroyers at sea and Patriot missiles on land.

Defense officials have said the two Aegis Ashore units could cover Japan entirely from one station at Yamaguchi in the south and another at Akita in the north.

The plan to deploy the two systems already had faced a series of setbacks, including questions about the selection of one of the sites, repeated cost estimate hikes that climbed to 450 billion yen ($4.1 billion) for their 30-year operation and maintenance, and safety concerns that led to local opposition.

Kono said Japan has signed contract worth nearly half the total cost and paid part of it to the U.S.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has steadily pushed to step up Japan's defense capability, said last week that in light of the scrapping the government would need to reconsider Japan's missile defense program and do more under the country's security alliance with the U.S.

Abe said the government would consider the possibility of acquiring preemptive strike capability, a controversial plan that critics say would violate Japan's war-renouncing Constitution.



Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel