Japan is considering accepting a US plan to deploy intermediate-range missiles on its territory, The Sankei Shimbun reported, citing sources.
The missiles being considered for deployment are the long-range hypersonic weapon (LRHW) and the ground-launched Tomahawk cruise missile.
Both the LRHW, to be fielded by the US Army this year, and the latest Tomahawk can strike over 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) away, within range of China’s east coast.
Along with the domestic Type-12 surface-to-ship missile being upgraded for counter-strike capabilities against missile launch bases, the two missiles would act as “anti-access/area denial” against Chinese medium-range missiles, the outlet added.
Possible Deployment Location
The US has been requesting the deployment for several years, the outlet stated, adding that it could happen across the First island chain.
The location of the deployment has not yet been decided. However, Kyushu, the southernmost of the four largest Japanese islands, is being considered, The Sankei Shimbun reported.
Japan’s Planned Defense Upgrades
The development is among many investments Tokyo is considering to narrow its military gap with Beijing, including a counter-strike capability for 5 trillion yen ($37 billion).
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida‘s administration has recently announced a defense budget hike of 56 percent to $318 billion over the next five years.
Reacting to the development, Chinese military commentators termed it a plan to contain China and interfere in a possible invasion of Taiwan.
Quoting a Beijing-based military expert, state-run Global Times wrote that an attempt to “interfere in the Taiwan question” would result in Chinese forces counterattacking the “military installations from which attacks are launched on Japanese soil.”