Japan considering acquiring Tomahawk cruise missiles to deal with North Korean threat
The government is thinking of buying and deploying cruise missiles in response to North Korea’s provocative missile and nuclear tests, an official has said.The move makes sense from a defensive standpoint. North Korea is the most visible threat to Japan so the missiles should be considered defensive in nature.
The government is eager to set aside funds to study the feasibility of acquiring the ability to strike enemy missile sites, and could do so in the draft budget for fiscal 2018, the official said Friday on condition of anonymity.
However, there are concerns in the government and ruling bloc that acquiring such offensive potential would contradict Japan’s exclusively defense-oriented “posture” and trigger a backlash from opposition parties, even though they have in recent years been virtually incapable of reining in the ruling camp.
According to the official, the government is looking to purchase the Tomahawk cruise missile, the same weapon used by the U.S. to attack a Syrian airfield last month.
The Tomahawk is a long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile. It has enough range to hit any part of North Korea from the Sea of Japan and can fly at extremely low altitudes, making it less noticeable to radar.
The government is considering deploying Tomahawks on Aegis-equipped vessels in the Maritime Self-Defense Force fleet, the official said. The ships would have to be modified to use them, if they are actually introduced.