Japan eyes deployment of hypersonic missiles by 2030: daily

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Japan’s defence ministry is considering the deployment of hypersonic missiles by 2030 to boost deterrence by stepping up its counterattack capabilities, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday.

The ministry is seeking counterforce capabilities as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed the global security environment and North Korea’s series of missile launches, as well as China’s military movements threaten Japan, the report showed.

According to the daily, hypersonic missiles can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound and on a complex trajectory, making them difficult to intercept.

Japan aims to revise its national security strategy as well as other key defence papers by the end of the year.

The country could deploy long-range missiles in three states by obtaining the US-made Tomahawk, the first step to increasing its counterattack capabilities, the report said.

Japan could also upgrade Type 12 surface-to-ship missiles for the second stage by extending their range to more than 1,000 km (600 miles) from the current less than 200 km (60 miles), the Nikkei wrote.

Adopting hypersonic missiles will likely be the third stage, it stated.

Separately, the Asahi newspaper reported on Thursday that Japan was considering developing a submarine launched version of its Type 12 anti-ship missile, which would be harder for any adversary to detect.

The country has already said it intends to extend the ground-based missile range as part of a new strategy to give its military the ability to strike distant targets both at sea and on land.