Japan eyes budget for long-range cruise missiles
Japan Today -- Dec 06
The Japanese government is weighing a plan to equip fighter jets with long-range cruise missiles amid the North Korean nuclear and missile threat, starting with earmarking research costs in its fiscal 2018 budget plan, government sources said Tuesday.

But the move may stir controversy in Japan that upholds an exclusively defense-oriented policy under the war-renouncing Constitution, as the missiles would be capable of striking enemy bases.

The sources said the government is especially interested in Lockheed Martin Corp's JASSM-ER long-range, air-to-ground missile that has a range of over 900 kilometers.

"The thinking about introducing missiles nowadays is that the longer the range the better. Our main target will be ships at sea," a Japanese Defense Ministry source said.

The government maintains the position that possessing the ability to strike enemy bases is possible under the postwar Constitution if it can be considered a self-defense measure.

But Japan has so far opted not to equip its defense forces with cruise missiles and other armaments capable of attacking the territory of another country, leaving the role to its key ally, the United States.

政府は、有事の際に艦船や地上を攻撃できる長距離巡航ミサイルを導入する方針を固めました。敵地攻撃能力につながるという指摘もある一方で、北朝鮮への抑止力を期待する声もあります。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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