The cabinet of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on 19 December approved the introduction of two Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defence (BMD) systems to counter the growing threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
"North Korea's nuclear and missile development has become a greater and more imminent threat for Japan's national security, and with the two Aegis Ashore systems, we believe we can drastically improve our ballistic missile defense capability to protect Japan continuously and sustainably," said Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
The approval allows the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to purchase two units of the advanced air-defence systems to add to Japan's current two-layered BMD system based on ship-borne Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptors and land-based PAC-3 batteries.
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