Japan to Buy Advanced Radar/Missile Defense System from U.S.

Japan is set to buy a US-made advanced radar system as early as next week as part of their missile system upgrade.

According to Reuters, the radar system could help ease trade friction with the US and provide protection against the arsenals of North Korea and China.

Tokyo wants to deploy the ground-based Aegis Ashore system in 2023. “Aegis will be a big-ticket purchase; it will be a nice gift for President (Donald) Trump,” a Japanese government official said on condition of anonymity.

Some local officials have questioned the necessity of the purchase that was approved last year to upgrade Japan’s defense system against “North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat.”

In the wake of the summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, Pyongyang pledged to work towards de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump ordered the suspension of annual war games with South Korea, calling them both expensive for America and provocative toward North Korea.

Trump’s announcement caused concerns among US regional allies, with Japan calling the American military presence in South Korea as well as the joint exercises as “vital” and urged Washington to continue the drills.

Tokyo said it would not change its military posture until it sees signs that the North is prepared to permanently dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

Japan, which has been heavily dependent on US military protection since the defeat in World War II, hosts about 50,000 US military forces.

The US President has also stated a desire to export more American military hardware to Japan. Since November, Trump has increased pressure on Tokyo with tariffs on steel, threats of levies on car imports and calls for a new trade deal between the two countries.

During a meeting with the US President, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to buy “billions and billions of dollars of additional US products of all kinds.”

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