2003 June 22 Sunday
Japan To Install Missile Defenses In 2007

The Japanese government has decided to purchase the Raytheon Patriot ballistic missile defence system and another missile defense system.

The interceptor missiles to be mounted on Aegis-equipped destroyers are called Standard Missile-3 (SM-3), while the state-of-the-art surface-to-air missiles are called Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3).

The SM3, still under development by the US Navy, will intercept ballistic missiles at an earlier stage than the Patriot.

The SM3 is a more ambitious system, designed to take out ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase beyond the Earth's atmosphere. SM3s would be deployed on Aegis destroyers reconfigured to accommodate the weapons.

One recent report, while officially disputed, suggests an obvious motive for the Japanese plan to install missile defenses.

Japan's vulnerability to an attack by North Korean missiles may have increased dramatically, with reports yesterday that Pyongyang has developed several nuclear warheads for its ballistic missiles.

The United States unofficially told Japan in March that, for the first time, it had confirmation that North Korea had produced the warheads, Japanese media quoted officials as saying.

North Korea might possess the capability to launch a nuclear weapon on a rocket.

According to the majority view of U.S. experts, Pyongyang already has downsized nuclear warheads to about 1 ton each--small enough to be carried by the North's Rodong medium-range ballistic missile and almost one-fifth the size of the 4.9 ton Fat Man plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945.

The US government has been urging the Japanese government to deploy missile defenses for quite some time and the Japanese government has been dropping hints that it would do so. Therefore this latest announcement is unsurprising. Japan may also eventually deploy the US Army's Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) which is currently under development and may be ready for a 2007 roll-out. These plans should be seen as part of a wider pattern of cooperation between the United States and Japan in response to the increasing threat posed by North Korea. Another sign of the deepening of that cooperation are the recently reported plans to move a major US Navy intelligence headquarters from Hawaii to Japan.

The US navy is considering relocating the Pacific Fleet's patrol and reconnaissance headquarters from Hawaii to Japan by the autumn, a news

Nuclear tipped missiles from North Korea are not the only national security threat worrying the Japanese. While likely a lesser concern a recent report of an attempt by Al Qaeda to build up cells in Japan must be causing some alarm in Japanese national security circles.

Six members of the Al-Qaida terrorist network hiding out in Pakistan, planned last year to enter Japan secretly, government sources said Thursday.

Although they had fake passports, the plan failed because a Japanese Muslim, who was asked to be their guarantor, refused, the sources said.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 June 22 04:17 AM  Korea

Trent Telenko said at June 23, 2003 5:17 PM:

Ahem, I saw this one coming.

The only problem here is the Japanese are pretending that the NK threat is long term rather than short term like American intelligence tells them.

Randall Parker said at June 23, 2003 7:14 PM:


Yes, no surprise. Yes, they are still moving too slowly. But the United States is really moving too slowly too. We ought to be more rapidly building up capacity of Guam and in other locations to support a lot of air power projection. We ought to be pulling back from the DMZ more rapidly as well. And we also ought to be doing a much larger program (by orders of magnitude) to get radios and books into North Korea.

I also think we ought to have a number of rapid development programs to test out some ideas for how to more rapidly take out NK artillery that is buried into mountainsides. I'm wondering whether the new fuel air explosives could be used to kill the arty operators.

One thought: The Kuwaiti need for their PAC-3 system is not nearly as great now (at least unless we go up against Iran militarily). Maybe they'd lend their stuff to Japan for some amount of money while Raytheon builds new equipment.

I wonder how rapidly Raytheon could scale up PAC-3 production. I also wonder how much we have available to shift in that direction if it suddenly looks like it could get hot.

Joe Katzman said at June 23, 2003 9:37 PM:

Yes, both our blogs have been covering this area. got a post with links to PAC-3 and SM-3 data, as well as an immediate missile defense option if Japan was really serious about doing something in the short term.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Web parapundit.com
Go Read More Posts On ParaPundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright