Japan’s defense minister, Itsunori Onodera has announced his country’s acquisition of medium-range, air-launched cruise missiles that are capable of striking North Korea. While the Onodera did not mention North Korea in his speech, he said that the country needed to purchase the missiles to enhance its capabilities to strike its enemies seeing as currently has to rely on the United States to hit its enemies.
Onodera said, “We are planning to introduce the JSM (Joint Strike Missile) that will be mounted on the F-35A (stealth fighter) as ‘stand-off’ missiles that can be fired beyond the range of enemy threats.” The JSM has a range of 500km (310 miles), and as such it will boost Japan’s capabilities to defend itself.
Japan is also looking to mount the Lockheed Martin Corp’s extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) which can hit targets 1000km away on its F-15 fighter jets.
The plan to purchase and install the missiles is expected to cause controversy as it goes against Japan’s renunciation of the right to wage war enshrined in its post-World War Two constitution. However, North Korea has been taunting Japan by testing missiles over its territory which is an act of aggression.
Therefore, the aggression of North Korea and her spat with the United States, as well as the tug between N.Korea’s Kim Jong and US’ Donald Trump, has triggered the urgency for Japan to acquire weapons that will protect it form become collateral damage in the event the US and N.Korea went to war.