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28 Oct, 2022 05:19

Japan looking to buy US Tomahawk missiles – media

Tokyo is reportedly seeking the American munitions to boost its “counterattack capability”
Japan looking to buy US Tomahawk missiles – media

The Japanese government is in the final stages of closing a deal to purchase US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to a local media report, which came just days after Tokyo completed a separate multi-million dollar purchase of shorter-range American missiles.

Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper first reported the Tomahawk deal on Friday, citing unnamed government sources who said Washington has “generally accepted the move” and is now “making final adjustments” to the agreement.

Tokyo is now revising its National Security Strategy to put a greater focus on “counterattack capabilities to destroy enemy missile launch bases for the purpose of self-defense,” the paper said, adding that the Tomahawk could serve the purpose.

While the exact weapon model was not specified in the report, some variants are said to have an operational range of more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers), according to the missile’s developer, Raytheon, putting them well in range of some areas of China, North Korea and Russia’s Far East. Japanese government sources said they believe launchers on some warships could be modified to accommodate the Tomahawks, which are designed to be fired from naval vessels.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno later told Reuters that he is aware of the Yomiuri report, but declined to offer details, saying only that “The government is considering counterattack capabilities but no specifics have been decided.”

Earlier this month, Tokyo struck a deal to purchase 32 SM-6 Block I missiles from the United States for an estimated cost of $450 million. Also produced by Raytheon, the munitions have a range of just 150 miles (240 km), falling far short of the Tomahawk, and are designed to target air assets, including helicopters, jets, drones and even other incoming missiles. That sale still must be authorized by the US Congress, however.