Japan Decides to Build 2 Missile-Intercepting Aegis Ships
Tokyo, Dec. 18 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government decided at a cabinet meeting Friday on a plan to newly build two Aegis system-equipped destroyers as a substitute for an Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system whose introduction has been abandoned.
The planned ships are expected to be equipped with the Standard Missile-6 interceptor capable of shooting down cruise missiles.
"Based on the cabinet decision, we'll continue to work on steadily strengthening our defense capability so as to protect people's lives and peaceful society," Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi told a press conference after the cabinet meeting.
In late 2017, the government decided to introduce the Aegis Ashore system, aiming to be on guard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, against missiles from countries apparently including North Korea. With the planned Aegis ships, however, it would be difficult for Japan to establish a missile defense system that can be in constant operation as the vessels need to be given maintenance checks and crew members have to take rests.
The Defense Ministry included 1.7 billion yen for research related to the new Aegis ships in the government's draft budget for fiscal 2021, in hope of working out vessel designs and equipment that can raise the ships' operation rates and reduce the workload of Maritime Self-Defense Force members to be on board.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]