Japan's missile defence is planned to be strengthened by equipping the Aegis systems with a new type of SM3 Block2A missile, the range of which is nearly three times higher than those of the SM3. This sophisticated information system enables an Aegis destroyer to target a missile and fire an interceptor based on radar information provided by another Aegis vessel closer to the missile launch site.
And while North Korea and South Korea have agreed to hold talks with each other, Minister Onodera said this does not change Japan's current stance.
The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan of Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missiles for an estimated cost of $133.3 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a January 9 release.
The Japanese government will likely deploy a new missile intercept system on two new Aegis-equipped destroyers that is capable of exchanging data between the warships, a Japanese news outlet reports Thursday. The deal will cost Tokyo at least $133.3 million, according to US State Department estimates. "It will also improve (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's) interoperability with United States missile defense systems, and increase the protection for USA installations in the region".
Onodera also said the government now intends to apply Aegis Ashore for intercepting ballistic missiles, but eventually hopes to develop the system to enable shooting of various types of missiles, including cruise missiles.
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.
The most provocative moment came November 29, when North Korea said it successfully tested a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile, topped with a "super-large heavy warhead" which it said was capable of striking the USA mainland. "Japan is no longer needed to exist near us". The Aegis system is not created to intercept such missiles.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis spoke with Japan Minister of Defense Itsunori Onodera on Monday to discuss a range of US-Japan Alliance matters and reaffirmed US commitments to the defense of Japan - pledging to work closely with his Japanese counterpart to bolster critical Alliance capabilities.