Money required for missile interceptors . . .
On Thursday, Reuters reported that Tokyo will spend at least US$500 million more on two land-based ballistic missile defence systems. Japan had initially budgeted US$4.31 billion over three decades for the two systems, covering a range of expenses from the acquisition of the hardware to ongoing maintenance. The additional spend is for testing required to ensure the proper working of missile interceptors and is widely seen as a response to the threat posed by North Korean ballistic missiles, especially after Tokyo’s failure to detect them during the latest test.
Broken link in the U.S. alliance system in East Asia . . .
Despite continued threats from North Korea and China’s rise in the region, security co-operation between Japan and South Korea remains increasingly difficult due to their tense relations. The breakdown began last year when a South Korean court ordered Mitsubishi, a Japanese company, to pay compensation for wartime forced labour. In retaliation, Tokyo imposed export bans and removed South Korea from its preferential trade ‘white list.’ Seoul subsequently removed Japan from South Korea’s own list. South Korea then decided not to extend the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which has facilitated intelligence sharing between the two countries on North Korea.
Japan’s defence ministry sees greater tension in the region . . .
Japan’s Ministry of Defence released its annual defence white paper today. The report identifies the “expansion and intensification of Chinese military activities” and “enhancement of ballistic missiles by North Korea” as primary security threats to Japan. Further, the same paper indicates the possibility of sending military to Dokdo/Takeshima, an island whose ownership is disputed by Seoul and Tokyo. The report also calls for strengthening traditional defence capabilities as well as new ones including space, cyberspace, and electromagnetic spectrum to address these same security challenges.
- Reuters: Exclusive: As North Korea expands arsenal, Japan’s missile defense shield faces unforeseen cost
- Japan Times: Japanese radar stations and MSDF crews failed to track recent North Korean missiles launches
- Japanese Ministry of Defense: Defense of Japan 2019