In December 2017, Japan approved the construction of two Aegis Ashore anti-missile defense sites in order to counter the North Korean, but also Chinese, ballistic missile threat. Particularly strategic for Japanese deterrence policy, these two Aegis Ashore systems were intended to cover the entire Japanese territory using very long-range SM-3 Block IIA missiles.
Last week, however, Japan announced that it wanted to abandon this acquisition . The argument put forward is the risk represented by the first stage (booster) of the SM-3 missile, which could fall on an inhabited area in certain firing configurations. Modifying the missiles to avoid such accidents would have resulted in an additional cost of $1.87 billion, for a project with an initial cost estimated at $2.15 billion. A bill far too high for Tokyo, which would have decided to stop the costs.
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