US to Sell Missiles to Japan to use against North Korea

The United States has announced a 133 million deal in which it would sell Interceptor missiles which were requested by Japan. Japan already has Aegis Interceptors on four of its naval warships and has approved a bolstering of these defenses last month by purchasing two Aegis Ashore batteries which will cost around $2bn.  That's just for the site setup, not inclusive of the missiles.

This recent announcement of the agreement between the Pentagon and Japan will see Japan buying 3 Standard Missile-3 Block IIA (SM-3) missiles as well as 4 MK-29 missile canisters.  All of the armament being sold will also include contractor support to handle all technical aspects as well as transportation, engineering and logistics support services related to the program.  These are all included in the final #133.3mn price.

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The SM-3 missile system is precisely what NATO is currently using to protect Europe.  Most of NATO's SM-3 missile interceptors are houses on US Naval ships operating in the area on a full-time basis.

This latest purchase agreement between US and Japan comes amid heightening tensions in the region from North Korea.  Japan has taken the lead in efforts to beef up defenses.

The U.S. State Department said in an official statement that the deal was done with the intent of contributing to the U.S's foreign policy and national security interests in mind.  The department said that by further arming Japan with enhanced defensive capabilities their mission is satisfied, and Japan gains a more robust ability to protect itself and the Western Pacific from any ballistic missile threats.

A government official elaborated that by further arming Japan with American missile defense systems that it will improve interoperability with the U.S's defense systems in the region which benefits everyone.

The newly approved sale comes just over a year of heightened concern over North Korea's nuclear intent that included a few successful ballistic missile launches that ultimately landed in the Sea of Japan.

Recently it has been reported that North Korea claimed its missiles were only pointed at America and its territories while talking with South Korea about their Winter Olympics aspirations.   The missile defense sale is the Pentagon doubling down on Kim Jong-un's ever-increasing threats to harm the United States and its allies.

Nevertheless, the United States stated last week that it welcomes the dialogue between South and North Korea regarding the inclusion of North Korean athletes participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics and sees the move as a possible opening for future multilateral talks regarding the denuclearization of the peninsula.