Japan upgrading thousand missiles

TOKYO, Japan (AFP) — Japan is considering the deployment of more than 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to increase its ability to counter growing regional threats from China, local newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Sunday.

The country plans to upgrade its existing surface-to-ship missiles to extend their range from 100 kilometers to about 1,000 kilometers, which would be enough to reach Chinese coastal areas as well as North Korea, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

Upgrades would also need to be made to allow Japan’s existing ships and aircraft to be able to fire the new missiles, which could hit land-based targets, the newspaper reported.

The missiles would be deployed in and around the southwestern Kyushu region and on the small islands that dot Japan’s southwestern waters near Taiwan, Yomiuri reported.

Japanese officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the issue.

The plan is part of Japan’s attempt to narrow the missile capacity gap with China, while also addressing threats from North Korea, the newspaper said.

Japan’s military is not officially recognized under the country’s post-war constitution and defense spending is limited to funding nominally defensive capabilities.

Recent geopolitical tensions, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s increasingly aggressive stance over Taiwan, have prompted growing calls in Japan to review defense programs.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has vowed to significantly boost defense spending, which has been kept close to around one percent of gross domestic product.

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