Japan will start purchasing US-made Tomahawk cruise missiles in fiscal year 2025, a year earlier than originally planned, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara said on Wednesday.
The Tomahawk is a long-range, subsonic cruise missile that can be launched from ships or submarines and can strike targets with high precision. Japan plans to buy about 400 of the latest model Tomahawk Block V missiles and install them on its Aegis-equipped destroyers. The missiles have a range of between 550 and 2,500 kilometers, depending on the variant, and can be used to hit land or maritime targets.
The missile purchase is part of Japan’s efforts to enhance its counterstrike capability and deterrence against potential adversaries in the region. Japan faces multiple challenges, such as North Korea’s development of new quick-strike missiles that can reach Japan in minutes.
Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio announced the plan to acquire Tomahawk missiles at a House of Representatives Budget Committee session on February 27. He said the public is very interested in the issue and the US will also announce the maximum amount of missiles to be sold to Japan as part of the explanatory process for the US Congress.
Japan’s Defense Ministry is seeking a record budget for the next fiscal year as the pacifist country is set to have some of the highest military spending in the world. Over the next five years, Japan will spend about 5 trillion yen ($37 billion) on standoff, or long-range missiles, with deployment beginning in four years.