U.S. to sell anti-ballistic missile to Japan amid tensions

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State Department Approves Possible $133.3 Million Missile Deal With Japan

The Japanese government is aiming at having the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S. Navy Aegis vessels share targeting information through this new system.

Moscow criticized Japan's plans to expand its missile shield with Aegis systems, saying it could undermine bilateral relations "including negotiations on a peace treaty" that has not been concluded between Russian Federation and Japan since WWII.

Moreover, this new system can be also used at two USA land-based Aegis Ashore missile defence systems, which are expected to be deployed to Japan by 2023.

Throughout 2017, North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests despite constant criticism from the West and trade sanctions.

And while North Korea and South Korea have agreed to hold talks with each other, Minister Onodera said this does not change Japan's current stance.

The US State Department announced on Tuesday it had given preliminary approval for Japan to purchase four SM-3 Block 2A missiles manufactured by Raytheon Co and BAE Systems, related hardware equipment, and technological, engineering and logistics services provided by the US government and contractors. The U.S. approved the sale of anti-ballistic missiles to Japan. "It will also improve (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's) interoperability with US missile defense systems, and increase the protection for USA installations in the region". "Japan is no longer needed to exist near us". This would boost the number of interceptors available to counter a volley of missiles launched by North Korea.

Reuters reported in December that the cost of building two Aegis Ashore batteries without the missiles would be at least $2 billion and it was not likely to be operational until 2023 at the earliest.

Combining these new interceptors with the new system will enable Aegis destroyers stationed at a distance to shoot down missiles fired toward Japan.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke with Japan Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera on Monday to discuss a range of US-Japan Alliance matters and reaffirmed US commitments to the defense of Japan - pledging to work closely with his Japanese counterpart to bolster critical Alliance capabilities.

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