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Report: Japan considering hypersonic missile deployment by 2030

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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 today.

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

Hypersonic missiles can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound and on a complex trajectory, which are difficult to intercept, the report said.

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

Its stance on counterattack capabilities and hypersonic missiles may be mentioned in those documents, according to the Nikkei.

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

Adopting hypersonic missile will likely be the third stage, it reported.

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.

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

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