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State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan

12 January 2018

The U.S. government has approved the sale of anti-ballistic missiles to Japan to defend itself against a growing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea, a State Department official said on Tuesday.

The department said the sale would support the US defense industry and underscore Trump's commitment to improve the defense of allies threatened by North Korea.

Japan's missile defence is planned to be strengthened by equipping the Aegis systems with a new type of SM3 Block2A missile, the range of which is nearly three times higher than those of the SM3.

Onodera also said the government now intends to apply Aegis Ashore for intercepting ballistic missiles, but eventually hopes to develop the system to enable shooting of various types of missiles, including cruise missiles. By comparison, the Block IIA has a range of 2,500 km, or 1,350 miles.

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The sale is aimed at bolstering the ballistic defense capability for Japan's Maritime Self Defense Force, though the DSCA said the sale of equipment will not alter the basic military balance in the region. This would boost the number of interceptors available to counter a volley of missiles launched by North Korea.

Land-based Aegis systems have similar capabilities.

With this technology, the Aegis missile-defense system - a collection of radar stations and interceptors - will be simultaneously able to detect threats from longer distances and combat targets with reduced reaction time, the U.S. ICBMs travel higher and faster and are more hard to counteract.

He was there to inspect the Aegis Ashore anti-missile system Japan will introduce.

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The MSDF now has four Aegis destroyers for the nation's missile defense.

US and Japanese military officials have been in constant communication since the current North Korean nuclear crisis heated up after North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear bomb yet on Sept 3, 2017.

According to a Pentagon statement issued on Monday, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Japanese Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera "condemned North Korea's reckless and unlawful behavior", while talking on phone.

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State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan