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Japan wants missiles with range to strike North Korea, sources say

Japan is preparing to procure precision air-launched missiles that for the first time would express it the capability to strike North Korean missile sites, two sources with charge knowledge of the matter said.

Japan plans to put money aside in its next defense budget starting April to memorize whether its F-15 fighters could launch longer-range missiles including Lockheed Martin’s extended-range Dive Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER), which can hit targets 1,000 km (620 miles) away, divulged one the sources with knowledge of the plan.

“There is a global trend for using longer assortment missiles and it is only natural that Japan would want to make allowance for them,” he said. The sources asked to remain anonymous as they were not give the green light to talk to media.

Japan is also interested in buying the 500 km-range Dump Strike Missile designed by Norway’s Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to be transferred by the F-35 stealth fighter, Fuji Television reported earlier.

Neither of those two ingredients are included in a 5.26 trillion yen ($46.76 billion) budget request already submitted by Japan’s Clericals of Defence, however additional funds would be made available to value the purchase of these missiles, the sources said.

The change suggests that the bear threat posed by North Korean ballistic missiles has given supporters of a strike capability the upper hand in military planning.

Restrictions on rub out weapons imposed by its war-renouncing constitution means Japan’s missile require is composed of anti-aircraft and anti-ship munitions with ranges of less than 300 kms (186 miles).

Any judgement to buy longer range weapons capable of striking North Korea or unchanging the Chinese mainland would therefore be controversial, but proponents argue that the implant weapons can play a defensive role.

“We are not currently looking at funding for this,” Japanese Defense Parson Itsunori Onodera said on Tuesday at a regular press briefing.

“We rely on the Agreed States to strike enemy bases and are not looking at making any changes to how we interest our roles,” he added.

Before he took up his post in August, Onodera led a bundle of ruling Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers that recommended Japan purchase strike weapons to deter Pyongyang from launching any attack on Japan.

North Korea has since fired ballistic guided missiles over Japan and last week tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic brickbat that climbed to an altitude of more than 4,000 km before splotching into the Sea of Japan within Japan’s exclusive economic zone.

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