politics

Japan to scrap costly land-based U.S. missile defense system

58 Comments
By MARI YAMAGUCHI

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58 Comments
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Being neighborly is much less expensive. Put that money to good use elsewhere.

23 ( +34 / -11 )

A very expensive tin can.

Those billions are better spent on the citizens, not on creamy margins for defence contractors.

24 ( +34 / -10 )

Now if the same standards can be applied to Okinawa bases, the government in Tokyo could give the appearance of being a democracy.

16 ( +26 / -10 )

In facing the growing threat from China as well as NK, Japan will need to beef up its overall defense capability. However, it doesn't necessarily mean more buys from the US (and for the sake of America's safety). We should stop wasting money.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

A system that doesn't meet the needs of the customer should be cancelled as soon as that is discovered.

Anyone else notice that news from NK is lacking the last 4 months? Hummmm. Perhaps they are busy?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Japan is broke and has no money, that's why.

Japan will soon enter the forced demilitarization phase due to lack of funds, against rising China and Korea.

@noriahojanen

it doesn't necessarily mean more buys from the US (and for the sake of America's safety).

Actually American weapons are far cheaper than Japanese domestic weapons, and it's more cost effective to just import weapons from the US than it is to source from Japanese domestic vendors.

-25 ( +6 / -31 )

The whole process of purchase was fraudulent from the start, no Suprise there. The placement was abortary and made no sence, no Suprise there. The cost was eye watering, and the need debateable. It's a good call to scap this particular ideal. Now hopefully rational heads will prevail and sort out a functioning system.....but I doubt it.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

A very sensible decision to scrap the deployment of those exorbitantly expensive US-made toys. If the Aegis ashore is so effective in shooting down incoming enemy missiles, why aren’t they deployed on the US soil?

16 ( +20 / -4 )

It is not the time we spend money for military defense but for pandemic defense.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Abe is from Yamaguchi. A simple "no" from the constituents and the whole deployment scrapped? Wow, wish that could happen for Okinawa.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

@Meiyouwenti

If the Aegis ashore is so effective in shooting down incoming enemy missiles, why aren’t they deployed on the US soil?

The Aegis Ashore is useless for mainland US, the US is deploying THAAD instead.

Japan needs THAAD, but a THAAD deployment cost 4 times as much as Aegis Ashore, so Japan chose Aegis Ashore simply because it was cheaper, but Japan can't even afford Aegis Ashore now.

Anyhow, Kim Jong Un is supposed to launch an ICBM toward US west coast in October that will fly over Japan, and there is nothing Japan can do to stop it.

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

First of possibly more things that get cut for any number of reasons, but in reality, due to the recent "stimulus" packages that the government had to put out because of COVID.

The government can put out all the propaganda it wants as to the rational, but the reality is that it can not afford it!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

If china doesn’t like it, you made the right choice...Now you’re second guessing yourself.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This missile defense systems from the U.S. Are overpriced and doesn't work as advertised.

The best missile shield system I've seen to date its from Israel. A country constantly under threat from all types of missiles, rockets, ballistic missiles, artillery fire. My advice is built your own, it's an area of defense which Japan should already be an expert but we're not. Fake promises from the U.S. On the capabilities of their weapons like the F35 and the Aegis missile shield have been hyped and story telling, stories of capabilities never proven in real life scenario.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Kono said that Japan had already spent 180 billion yen ($1.7 billion) for the systems, but that not everything will go to waste because the system is compatible with those used on Japanese destroyers."

Not everything " will go to waste....translation - only about 90% will...whats a $ billion  and a half of tax money wasted between friends hey.

Meanwhile lets cut funding for the disabled and similar programs while whining that we have no money and have to keep raising sheeple,s taxes. LDP at its best.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

So now 126 million people will be much less safe from a real, quantifiable threat because some people may possibly have a small risk that a booster will fall on their property.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Well this is definitely good news, that Japan is taking a step away from his recent militarism. They’re realizing that doing all of this, will just result in more hostile environment between them and North Korea and China. Good move by the fence Mr. Yes indeed, good move.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

*Defense minister. Sorry, my mistake

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Wise decision. The US missile-defense systems are not top notch. Japan should now put much more funding into Defense and develop better and safer missile-defense systems.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

So good at wasting money.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Brilliant! The cheaper alternative is simply to distribute "Learning Russian 101" textbook to everyone in Hokkaido and "Learning Mandarin 101" textbook to everyone else in Japan. And you also give the option of receiving "Learning Korean with a Northern Accent 101" textbook. Will save lots of money for Japan and allow the US military to leave Japan and save taxpayers the billions of dollars spent defending Japan. Problems solved!

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Here you are China. After you're finished with Taiwan you can Begin to liberate Japan!

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Being broke is a considerable factor - altho the ¥presses are working overtime of recent - and Abe having his local constituents up in voice must have put considerable pressure to bear.

But also the realization that buying a system touted by best bud Trump & co as the "Perfect Option" , was more about oiling the Inc-machine than saving lives.

And of course the new understanding that land based-Aegis is decidedly yesterday, and Cyber Warfare and Hypersonic Missiles are now and tomorrow.

And next week - well we have no idea - but we pray that it isn't bio-weaponry after witnessing what a relatively innocuous corona virus can do. No radar system can prepare us for that.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

By the time the operators had detected a launch, asked for permission to fire, and the oyajis in Tokyo made a decision to fire, the missile would have landed and exploded. Some defence!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Whether Japan chooses Aegis for self-defense or not, it must not lose sight of the need for self-defense. Part of a response to the threat of foreign nuclear weapons is the ability to counter-attack. Is Japan going to change its constitution, and then spend the trillions of dollars necessary to establish the capability to respond to a nuclear attack? If not, then it should be glad to spend the billions of dollars for the limited protection that missile defense systems provide.

What prevented World War III during the era of the Soviet Union was not the ability of the West to prevent the USSR from attacking, such as with anti-missile missiles, but the sure knowledge among all that if anyone attacks with nuclear weapons, there will be a response in kind. If North Korea were to be so illogical as to use nuclear weapons against a neighbor or against the USA, they should understand that it would result in North Korea being attacked in kind. That is the nature of "mutually assured destruction," except that a nuclear war with North Korea would not result in a nuclear winter.

If Japan has any doubts that it can rely on American leaders to use their nuclear weapons to respond to a nuclear attack on Japan, then Japan should acquire its own nuclear weapons.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japan should be developing its own technology or diversifying its suppliers. Obviously they're not gonna buy from the likes of China (why bother getting a cheap copy from a rival when you can get the original). I hear countries like Russia, France and Israel also have advanced anti-missile defence technology. If they're as good or better than the US's stuff, why not buy from them?

In any case, we have more important things to worry about now. Not just missile strikes, but recent biological attacks...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Lockheed Martin is probably very disappointed now.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They can shot down 3 missiles. NK fired 4 at the same time. That means one, will blast Tokyo. I believe that tokyoites have around 45 minutes to evacuate to nuclear shelters.

Russias S-300 and S-400 can intercept between 10-20 ballistic missiles.

I really believe but have never been there, but Japan should source such weapons from Russia and develop a good relationship with our neighbor.

throw away the F-35. Don’t work and cost the same as old peoples retirement pension. Easy to crash, collect info for USA, software/hardware massive problems and the prospect of being a slave to America arms dealers for at least 20 years.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

against rising China and Korea.

I would hate to be paranoid like some people. Do you check under your bed before you sleep?

Man up! The world changes. Seen any dinosaur or Spanish Conquistadors roaming around your neighborhoods lately?

fact: history changes.

china will be boss next year.

Oops. i love Chinese food and culture so I my be biased.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Japan panicked when the North started lobbing missiles into the Japan Sea and threatened to annihilate the country. The planning to purchase the missile defense system served its purpose. It calmed the people and made it look like the government was doing something. Now we wait until the saber rattling ratchets up again and a new plan is needed.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Anyhow, Kim Jong Un is supposed to launch an ICBM toward US west coast in October that will fly over Japan, and there is nothing Japan can do to stop it

Please stick to kiddies war games, and take your disturbing fantasies elsewhere.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Goodlucktoyou

They can shot down 3 missiles. 

It doesn't work like that. North Korean ballistic missiles can perform complex evasive maneuvers, this is why Japan struggled to estimate where the missile landed during past launch tests because of complex maneuvers they perform in terminal stage.

The shocking reality is that if North Korea launches 4 ICBMs, 3 will land on target unless you have something like the ROK's KAMD, which is the world's first and only triple layer missile defense system built at the cost of $20 billion and guarantees three interception attempts on all incoming ballistic missiles using different specialized interceptors.

So how does ROK military know its interceptors can intercept North Korean ballistic missiles? They test their interceptors against their own ballistic missiles, which perform even more complex evasive maneuvers than NK's missiles.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

china will be boss next year.

Yep, better to be Red (China) than dead. Japan is sucking up to their new puppet masters.

Japan panicked when the North started lobbing missiles into the Japan Sea and threatened to annihilate the country.

That's right. After Kim Yo Jong finishes off South Korea, she'll go after Japan next. Lobbying missiles over Japan and people will panic and demand "where are the missile defense systems to protect us!?"

Oh....that's right, we scrapped them.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Not good. Japan needs a good defensive missile system to hold back NK. With no missile defense system NK is likely to expand their imperialist agenda.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Useless junks. NK doesn't even care about Japan. They are busy irritating SK. All these weapons are just US forcing their junk on us and want us to test it out for them. While trying to destabilize Asia.

NK isn't stupid. Why would they even bother picking a fight with us? The counter attack and the world response would not be pretty.

In this kind of age, which nation is still that crazy to even want to wage a war?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Exactly the same problem lies here as in the Henoko relocation issue. Both are white elephants and money gobblers in terms of costs, capabilities and time consumed for completion. So if the Aegis Ashore missile defense system can be scrapped for these reasons, so can Futenma's relocation to Henoko. 

I therefore repeat: Close USMC Air Station Futenma and return the land with no condition attached. No double standard, please.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

@Hiro

All these weapons are just US forcing their junk on us and want us to test it out for them. 

Yes, but the ROK built their own missile defense network from scratch and doesn't rely on American hardware, except for PAC3 as the last layer interceptors. First two interceptors L-SAM and M-SAM are Korean interceptors, so good Russia uses M-SAM for its own air defense.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-350E_Vityaz_50R6

The 50R6 Vityaz (Russian: ЗРК Витязь) or S-350E[2][3] is a Russian medium-range surface-to-air missile system developed by GSKB Almaz-Antey. Its purpose is to replace the S-300PS and S-300PT-1A. The system design traces its roots from the joint South Korean/Russian KM-SAM project and uses the same 9M96 missile as the S-400 missile system.

Why can't Japan do what the ROK does with ease, with lots of cash, time, and persistence?

While Japan has been talking about building its own stealth fighter for the past 10 years, the first Korean one is scheduled to be finished assembly at the end of this year. So while Japan wasted time talking, boasting, and debating, Koreans actually went and built one.

https://www.defenseworld.net/news/27177/Final_Assembly_of_S_Korea___s_KF_X_Jet_by_Yearend#.Xug8lkVKiUk

Final Assembly of S.Korea’s KF-X Jet by Yearend

The final assembly of South Korea’s indigenous fifth-generation fighter KF-X will be completed by the end of this year.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

A useless American made 'defense system' foisted upon a 'client-state'. Same as those piece-of-crap F-35 warplanes. Switzerland a better model that the failing Empire USA. Abe and his Imperial Dreams, along iwth all those other louses in government.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Cost of Freedom is not cheap.

Either that or acquire your own nuclear arsenal and adhere to concept of MAD

which can cost more.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Made in Japan can do much better job.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Cost of Freedom is not cheap

Sounds nice. So there's no problem in squandering tax money to buy the priceless equipment that doesn't work?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Why should the Henoko relocation plan be scrapped like Aegis Ashores?

An overall cost to build the Henoko new base is estimated to be 930 billion yen, of which about 100 billion yen will be earmarked for the improvement of the soft sea bed by piling 71,000 piles into an area extending 66.2 ha with a depth in some places of about 90 meters.  

I think Washington has already given up the relocation plan while Tokyo is more intent to go ahead with the relocation because money politics is so deeply involved in it now. Security matters have nothing to do with it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

In this kind of age, which nation is still that crazy to even want to wage a war?

They said the same thing about Germany in the 1930s. Sooner or later, there will alway be someone crazy enough to start a war, not matter how bad the odds.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

North Korea and Russia have impoverished their people with their corruption, and their conviction that a strong nuclear arsenal is very necessary, even at the cost of starving thousands of North Koreans.

South Korea and Japan are potentially far ahead of both NK and Russia, in that their GDPs are far larger, their economies much healthier, and thus they are in a much better place to be able to afford to build up the military forces to protect themselves. Whether or not Japan chooses to build the military infrastructure necessary to protect itself from its much weaker neighbors, NK and Russia, is the question. An alliance with the USA has been the cornerstone of Japanese defensive policy since World War II, but if the Trump administration has shown the world anything, it is that the American government can be subverted by corruption, incompetence, and Russian trolls.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Samit BasuToday 08:14 am JST

Japan needs THAAD, but a THAAD deployment cost 4 times as much as Aegis Ashore, so Japan chose Aegis Ashore simply because it was cheaper, but Japan can't even afford Aegis Ashore now.

The THAAD is not for sale and is solely for use in defending the United States.

By cost the THAAD is much cheaper than the Aegis Ashore. Since it's a mobile system deployed from trucks. 

The THAAD, deployed in South Korea, aims to shoot down potentially dangerous missiles from North Korea. If these missiles are a real danger to the United States. And they do not serve to defend South Korea, nor do they have that purpose.

As long as there is no sales and export version of THAAD. Japan won't be able to buy it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Richard Gallagher, you think Switzerland is threatened by China? Appeasers always end up the first to be swallowed, find a history book. Switzerland is only safe because of the alps and the land based armaments they built into those mountains to repel invaders. Also every Swiss must join the army two years and keep an automatic military rifle at home for the rest of his life. The Japanese citizen has been disarmed and is helpless.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

With no missile defense system NK is likely to expand their imperialist agenda.

They can't even grow enough grass to feed itself. Japan can defend itself against North Korea and saying otherwise is fear mongering.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Considering the cost and time it would require, I had no choice but judge that pursuing the plan is not logical,” Kono said.

Is Kono here referring to the Aegis Ashore systems or the Henoko relocation? It can be either, because both are of the same nature in terms of the cost and time required.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The cost to build Aegis Ashore systems will amount to 450 billion yen over the next three years, according to the article,  while that to build a new Henoko base will amount to 930 billion yen, more than twice as much as Aegis Ashore systems. 

So if the Aegis Ashore plan must be scrapped for budgetary reasons, all the more so must the Henoko relocation plan. This is what Okinawa Governor Tamaki is strongly appealing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think the most likely reasons for the government's decision must have been that the current missile defense systems won't be able to keep pace with quicker advancement of North Korea's missile launching technology, for example, involving multiple-head missiles.

Likewise, U.S. Marines based in Okinawa, the most active elements of whom will be in Guam, even if Futenma's function is relocated to Henoko, won't be able to deal with any developments of territorial conflicts over the disputed islands.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Goodlucktoyou, et al,

Russias S-300 and S-400 can intercept between 10-20 ballistic missiles.

I really believe but have never been there, but Japan should source such weapons from Russia

Have you forgotten Japan and Russia are still adversaries where the Kuril Islands are concerned and have no peace treaty? Why would Japan buy a weapons systems from an adversary? That's stupid.

And should there be a non-military or military conflict between the U.S. and Russia, most likely Japan would side with the U.S. Do you believe Russia would continue to supply Japan with replacement hardware parts and upgrade hardware to maintain the system?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters that he decided to “stop the deployment process” of the Aegis Ashore systems after it was found that the safety of one of the two planned host communities could not be ensured without a hardware redesign that would be too time consuming and costly.

I recall reading about the so-called safety concerns Yes, standing in front of the Aegis radar array would be dangerous, but who plans to stand in front of the radar array while in operation. A weak excuse. Then there are budgetary reasons. Another weak excuse.

No, the real reason for scrapping the system is Russia's and China's opposition, considering the Aegis system is an offensive system. Kono is afraid of offending Russia and China.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/02/russias-objections-to-japans-aegis-ashore-decision/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Commentators on a TV talk show I just watched were saying exactly the same thing as I’ve been saying. The current Aegis Ashore system can't cope with tomorrow's missiles, such as multiple-headed ones. So the system is already obsolete before it's delivered.

Former defense ministers such as Gen Nakatani, Shigeru Ishiba and Tomomi Inada expressed their complaints openly to the effect that the administration should have discussed the matter within the party before publicly announcing its decision so suddenly.

In the first place, the purchase of two Aegis Ashore systems was agreed to by Shinzo Abe at a summit meeting to please his friend Donald Trump. How much Abe's top-down policy making in the Henoko landfill work was involved, I don't know. But a top-down policy making must have played very strongly here, too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Glad that they scrapped it, but now that they have how much did the whole process thus far cost?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think they haven't spent much as yet because the project is only at a site-determining stage in Aomori and Yamaguchi Prefectures, where local people are vehemently opposed to the systems to be installed in their neighborhood. 

In Aomori, the planned site is very close to a residential area and debris from crashed incoming or targeting missiles could easily hit people in the town. 

But the government must pay damages for breaching a contract for how much I don’t know..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Defense Minister Kono said the reason for scrapping the pland of the Aegis Ashore systems that are to be installed in Akita and Yamaguchi was the systems couldn't prevent inceptor missiles' boosters from falling on residential areas nearby. Mmilitary analyst Yoshiyasu Inaba assumes there's another reason for the suspension. And that is that the systems cannot deal with incoming low-altitude missiles Russia has already developed. 

Together with my assumption that the system cannot deal with multiple-headed incoming missiles, this futures transaction, the initiative probably taken by Washington and urged, has turned out nonsense because the system is already obsolete before it's delivered. The Henoko relocation issue in Okinawa has a similar problem.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Pentagon reacted to Kono' announcement immediately, saying they will keep negotiating with the Japanese government for the deployment of the missile defense systems to Japan. What does this mean? It means Washington is more eager for Japan to buy and install Aegis Ashore on its soil to shoot down U.S.-targeting ballistic missiles flying over Japan. 

In other words, the Aegis Ashore missile defense system is not necessarily for the defense of Japan but essentially for the security of the U.S. The same twisted logic is also observable in the case of Futenma's relocation to Henoko. LOL.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Defense Minister Taro Kono visited Yamaguchi and Akita Prefectures, on June 20 and 21 respectively, to apologize for the trouble the government caused them by asking to host Aegis Ashore systems and suddenly suspending the planned deployment.

Tokyo has already invested 400 billion yen for the development of this costly weaponry, which will surely be written off as unrecoverable. Then, shouldn't Kono apologize to the whole nation for the squandering of so much taxpayers' money?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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