Narrowing Gap With China, Japan Wants To Have 1,000 Long-Range Missiles

Narrowing Gap With China, Japan Wants To Have 1,000 Long-Range Missiles
Japan wants to have 1,000 long-range missiles to narrow gap with China

Tokyo - Japan is considering stockpiling more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to narrow the "missile gap" with China. The desire was revealed by government sources on Sunday (21/8/2022), when tensions rose in the Taiwan Strait.

Government sources, quoted by the Yomiuri, said the Defense Ministry was considering providing the Type-12 ground-launched standoff missile. Not only that, the missile's range will also be expanded from about 200 kilometers (124 miles) to more than 1,000 km, especially those that can protect the far-flung southwest islands and the Kyushu region.

The weapon, which is desirable and will also be capable of launching from sea and air, would put the coasts of China and North Korea within striking distance. In order to acquire weapons at an early date, the Ministry of Defense can include their request when it launches a preliminary budget proposal for fiscal 2023, which is expected to be released at the end of this month.

The issue is gaining additional momentum after China launched its first five ballistic missiles into waters near Okinawa Prefecture earlier this month. The launch was part of a massive military exercise around Taiwan, which Beijing said was in response to a visit by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.

China regards democratic Taiwan as an integral part of its territory to be subjugated, by military force if necessary. Tokyo condemned China's maneuvers, which experts say are likely meant to deter US and Japanese intervention in any crisis over Taiwan.

China has about 300 land-based cruise missiles and 1,900 ballistic missiles that can strike Japan. The US is bound until 2019 by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty which prohibits all land-based missiles with a range of 500 km to 5,500 km.

Washington currently does not have such a weapon in its arsenal, although it has begun developing missiles with such a range. North Korea has nuclear weapons and has hundreds of ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan. Pyongyang's recent breakthroughs including claims it has tested hypersonic weapons designed to evade enemy defense systems have also sparked concern on the Tokyo side.

Critics say any move to acquire counter-attack capability would deviate from Japan's traditional interpretation of its pacifist Constitution and the country's exclusive defense-oriented policies.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has repeatedly stated; "Japan will drastically strengthen its defensive capabilities in five years, without ruling out any options, including possession of counter-attacking capabilities."

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