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Japan Ballistic Missile Defense

The 2003 edition of Japan's White Paper for Defense, released in August 2003, advocated deployment of missile defenses to deal with "unpredictable threats, such as ballistic missile and terrorist attacks". The Defense Agency requested 200 billion yen (US$1.7 billion) for fiscal 2004 and 2005 to buy US Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) anti-missile systems as well as US SM-3s (Standard Missile 3).

Japan’s NDPG (National Defense Program Guideline) and MTDP (Mid-Term Defense Program) (Dec. 2004) clearly state the importance of establishing BMD capability. The MTDP states that GOJ will improve AEGIS and PATRIOT system. The NDPG and MTDP clearly states the importance to enhance US-Japan BMD Cooperation. In the Annex of NDPG, GOJ sets an independent category of the main equipment and the major units for BMD as a “fourth category”, following “GSDF”, “MSDF”and “ASDF”categories.

Directed largely at North Korea, the Japanese deployment would be two-tiered, combining the Aegis Sea-Based system and the PAC Patriot Ground Based System. Upgrading one destroyers with the SM-3 interceptor missiles would be completed by the end of 2007, at a cost of 54.2 billion yen. The first surface-to-air PAC-3 systems will be deployed at bases in Narashino, Takeyama, Kasumigaura and Iruma by 2007 to protect the Tokyo area, at a cost of 76.6 billion yen. The JDA hopes to equip 16 of its 27 Air Self Defense Force ground-to-air units with Patriot systems, and to deploy four Aegis Cruisers with SM-3s. The total cost of the system was estimated to reach 500 billion yen by 2011.

The Joint Cooperative Research on AEGIS BMD Missiles is the research effort kicked off in 1999 on the four major components of the Future Standard Missiles of AEGIS BMD which is aimed at higher performance than SM-3Blk 1A currently deployed. Based on the outcome gained from the Research, SM-3blkIIA Cooperative Development Project commenced in the bilateral efforts by Japan and the US.

Where Defense Order is issued, the Japan Self Defense Forces (JSDF) can take actions against incoming ballistic missiles in accordance with the Order. On the contrary, where the Order is not being issued, JSDF cannot take any actions under the current JSDF law. But, there is no other choice than to kill and destroy the incoming ballistic missiles by interceptors in order to prevent the enormous damage regardless of Defense Order being issued or not.

Under the new Law, the approval of the Prime Minister and the order of the Defense Minister are required to destroy the incoming ballistic missiles. And under certain circumstances where the response time is limited, the Defense Minister will be authorized to issue, in accordance with the Emergency Response Procedures made in advance by the Defense Minister with the approval of the Prime Minister, an order to destroy the ballistic missiles for a defined period of time.

The Japanese Defense Ministry planned to deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in central Tokyo to shield the capital from potential attacks. The May 2014 plan was designed to beef up the capital's defenses against a possible ballistic missile attack from North Korea. The PAC-3 system would be deployed in the Ichigaya district in the Shinjuku ward as early as 2017. If Japan believed it is under attack from ballistic missiles, the self Defense Forces (SDF) would first of all order Aegis equipped destroyers to shoot them down from space using Standard Missile-3 interceptors. If they fail then the PAC-3, which only has a range of about 20 km, would form the second line of defense.

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