State Department approves $133.3M missile sale to Japan

Onodera Aegis Ashore to intercept cruise missiles

"We need to bear in mind that all these systems have universal missile launchers that can use all types of missiles".

Aegis vessels equipped with SM-3 interceptors form the main pillar of Japan's missile defense system.

According to several government sources, the new intercept system will improve the ability of the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis vessels to protect the nation if North Korea launches a wave of ballistic missiles.

Onodera said he did not discuss in detail with Greaves expenses for introducing the Aegis Ashore, but felt US "efforts to reduce the costs".

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The new information exchange system, developed by the US, will allow using radar data from a destroyer equipped with Aegis system in order to intercept missiles by another destroyer, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun said.

Within one month after Trump's Tokyo sojourn, Japan formally chose to expand its ballistic missile system using US-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors in December.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the deal with Japan was part of a bigger plan by the United States for a "global anti-missile system". Consequently, the government intends to carefully gauge the US side's intentions on this issue.

Throughout 2017, North Korea has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests despite constant criticism from the West and trade sanctions.

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The MSDF now has four Aegis destroyers for the nation's missile defense.

North Korea continued its nuclear advances despite condemnation from the global community. It is expected to enter operational service in 2019-2020 at a cost of about ¥170 billion (USD 1.5B) each, the report says.

Japan will have a fleet of eight Aegis destroyers in 2020, following the construction of new ships and upgrades to others.

Onodera observed the computer system which sends commands to interceptor missiles.

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HAWAII-In a comment likely to spark controversy over the nation's defense policy, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on January 10 said Japan should build a comprehensive system capable of intercepting cruise missiles.

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