WP: Japan to lift ban on Patriot missile sales. What it could mean for Ukraine

Anna Kholodnova

This week, Japan will change its defense export rules to allow it to export several dozen Patriot missiles to the United States. Such a decision will open the way for additional deliveries of such missiles to Ukraine from the USA.

This was reported by The Washington Post.

Japan produces missiles for Patriot, the main US air defense system, under license from Raytheon. U.S. officials told reporters that the document changing defense export rules did not directly mention the Patriot system, but the update would meet a key request from the Biden administration.

President Biden discussed the issue with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida during the trilateral summit with South Korea at Camp David, as well as at the San Francisco Economic Summit in November.

The Japanese government is expected to announce the changes as early as December 22. Patriot missiles will not go directly to Ukraine. Japan is considering sending dozens of missiles to the United States. According to officials, a decision on the number will be made "relatively soon."

Japan, worried that Russiaʼs war could push China to similar actions against Taiwan, supported Ukraine. It was the first East Asian country to join Western sanctions against the Russian Federation.

  • After World War II, Japanʼs constitution allows the use of military force only for self-defense. However, the country has increased its military spending in recent years. So far, it has refrained from deploying long-range missiles that could hit targets on foreign territory.
  • In December of last year, WP wrote that Japan plans to purchase from the United States 400 to 500 Tomahawk missiles. It is part of Japanʼs new national security and defense strategy. It envisages a significant increase in the countryʼs defense budget to the NATO-recommended 2% of GDP. The country is also developing a new advanced fighter jet with the UK and Italy.