Japan, South Korea make investments in U.S. missile defense

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Even as Japan and South Korea move to develop 21st-century weapons systems and cyber-warfare platforms on their own, they will also seek to purchase advanced U.S.-made missile defense systems as well.

“Japan had decided to procure an advanced version of the SM-3 Block IIA sea-based ballistic missile system, F-35 fighter aircraft, V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and AAV-7 amphibious vehicles before the [November] Trump visit,” said Professor Narushige Michishita, director of the Security and International Studies program at the Tokyo-based National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

“What’s new are the Aegis Ashore missile defense system and anti-ship/ anti-ground cruise missiles, which had also been discussed before the Trump visit. Japan decided to buy what it was going to buy anyway, timing it to Mr. Trump’s visit in order to maximize the political impact of the decision.”

Adds Dr. Swee Lean Collin Koh, a research fellow with the Maritime Security Program at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore,  “The strategic motivations of Japan and ROK [Republic of Korea/South Korea] to beef up their defenses are there, and both countries have evinced interest and demonstrated some will to proceed with those plans.”

“We see that evident in Seoul’s potential quest for nuclear-powered attack submarines and advanced C4ISR capabilities from the US. And most recently, besides seeking US Aegis Ashore and possibly even THAAD, Tokyo is eyeing long-range offensive strike missiles, one of which being the US-made JASSM-ER,” said Koh. “These are highly sophisticated, and by that virtue, extremely expensive weapons. Not just the systems themselves, but also the costs associated with long-term supporting infrastructure, training and associated elements of the sales package.” [source]

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