Japan Denies Report About Invitation to Join AUKUS to Develop Hypersonic Weapons
Last Tuesday, the US, UK, and Australia, which formed a trilateral security alliance in September 2021, announced new cooperation on hypersonic weapons as well as other means of electronic warfare. The three countries are enhancing their defence cooperation which is believed to be designed to deter China in the Indo-Pacific.
The Japanese government has denied reports suggesting Tokyo received an invitation to join AUKUS members — the US, UK, and Australia - in developing hypersonic weapons and strengthening electronic warfare capabilities.
"Yes, we are aware of the news report about the invitation from the US, UK and Australia, but we have not received any request from those three countries," Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, said in answer to media questioning during a daily briefing on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Japanese daily newspaper, Sankei Shimbun, reported that Japan's government has a "positive opinion" about an informal invitation sent by AUKUS to join the alliance. However, Tokyo allegedly first wants to weigh the effect of participation, given that it has separate bilateral defence agreements with AUKUS members.
Matsuno also denied reports that maritime exercises with Japan in the East Sea involving a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln and jets including F-35Cs and F/A-18E Super Hornets is aimed to demonstrate joint capabilities to China.
"This is to strengthen the Japan and US alliance and is not intended to harm any hypothetical country," the secretary emphasised.
In a joint statement released on 5 April, the US, UK and Australia announced that AUKUS will "commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics
, and electronic warfare capabilities."
Japan supported the idea of developing hypersonic weapons but did not say anything about joining the project. Tokyo has its own hypersonic missile development programme.
With China's growing maritime power in the Indo-Pacific, the US and UK agreed to boost Australia's maritime strength by sharing technology to help it build nuclear-powered submarines