“The Washington Post”: Japan will buy several hundred “Tomahawk” missiles from the USA

Anna Kholodnova

Japan plans to purchase from the United States 400 to 500 Tomahawk missiles with a range of about 1 600 km.

This was reported by The Washington Post with reference to sources in the Japanese and the U.S. governments.

They want to purchase weapons as 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.

According to the publicationʼs sources, the decision to purchase hundreds of Tomahawks will let China and North Korea know that Japan is serious about self-defense against the backdrop of possible threats from Beijing and Pyongyang.

"The introduction of this system will symbolize a major positive change in terms of counterattack capabilities," noted a Japanese official familiar with the situation. Tomahawks with a range of about 1 600 km will allow hitting military targets on the Chinese mainland.

According to another Japanese official, Russiaʼs war in Ukraine was the key factor in expanding the countryʼs military potential. For the Japanese, the war in Ukraine made a Chinese invasion of Taiwan much more likely. Accordingly, public concern about Japanʼs military preparedness in the event of a regional conflict has increased.

According to former Pentagon official Christopher Johnston, Japanese officials also saw increased NATO support for Kyiv after the Ukrainians demonstrated a will to fight.

“They have concluded that the best way to ensure that the United States and others are on their side in a crisis is to demonstrate an investment in their own defense and a readiness to fight. This is the main lesson of the Ukrainian war for Japan," Johnston stated.

In May, Japanʼs national security adviser Takeo Akiba met with his White House counterpart, Jake Sullivan, in Washington and discussed the idea of acquiring the Tomahawks, according to people familiar with the matter. Sullivan, according to them, supported such an idea.

According to officials, Tokyo has not yet sent an official request to purchase the weapons.

  • After the 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.
  • Tomahawk attack missiles, or TLAMs, created by the American company Raytheon, were used in particular during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. They have demonstrated that they are capable of hitting targets at long distances with high accuracy. Tomahawks will give Japan the opportunity to strike bases in China and North Korea.
  • Previously, the media already wrote that the Ministry of Defense of Japan is considering the possibility of deploying hypersonic missiles by 2030.