09:42 GMT21 January 2021
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    Japan’s constitution prohibits a standing army. Its troops are called self-defense forces and their functions have been severely limited until recently. In July, the lower house of Japan’s parliament endorsed a package of security bills allowing the army to fight abroad for the first time since WWII.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US Department of States has approved $1.5 billion sale of a guided missile destroyer DDG 7, eight AEGIS Combat System, an Underwater Weapon System and Cooperative Engagement Capability equipment to Japan, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced in a statement on Friday.

    “The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Japan for DDG 7 and 8 AEGIS Combat System, Underwater Weapon System, Cooperative Engagement Capability and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.5 billion,” the agency said.

    Spratly group of islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan
    © AFP 2020 / POOL / RITCHIE B. TONGO
    Additional defense items in the deal include a new propulsion system, special purpose test equipment, engineering systems, training systems and the necessary staging services to support ship construction as well as delivery.

    The agency added the delivery of two new AEGIS DDG’s will also help Japan to reach its goal of “acquiring 8 ballistic missile defense capable ships and will further enhance interoperability with the US Navy.”

    “The addition of two new AEGIS DDGs to Japan’s fleet will afford more flexibility and capability to counter regional threats and continue to enhance stability in the region,” the agency said.

    The announcement of weapons deal between the United States and Japan comes as China’s pursuit of land reclamation in the East and South China Seas has led to deteriorating relations with Washington and its close ally Tokyo.


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