17:02 GMT +323 July 2019
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    Two F-15 J/DJ fighter planes make their way on a runway during the annual air review at Hyakuri Air Base, north of Tokyo. (File)

    Japan Announces Plan to Equip Fighter Jets With Longer-Range Missiles

    © AP Photo / Shizuo Kambayashi
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    Japan has announced its intention to bolster its military with missiles with a range of up to 1,000 km; Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera made the announcement in the aftermath of a ballistic missile test by North Korea which landed in Japanese waters.

    Japan has announced plans to acquire medium-range air-to-surface missiles and deploy them on its fleet of fighter jets.

    "We are planning to introduce the JSM (Joint Strike Missile) that will be mounted on the F-35A (stealth fighter) as 'stand-off' missiles that can be fired beyond the range of enemy threats," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told a press conference on Friday.

    The Joint Strike Missile is designed by Norway's Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace and has a range of 500km.

    Onodera added that Japan is also looking to equip its F-15 fighters with Lockheed Martin Corp’s extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER), which has a range of 1,000km.

    Japan's missile force is currently limited to anti-aircraft and anti-ship munitions which have a range of just 300 km. Japan's pacifist post-World War Two constitution imposes restrictions on its military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pushed through legislation to allow a broader interpretation of the constitution. 

    Japan's plans for greater missile capability come after a series of ballistic missile and nuclear bomb tests carried out by North Korea. In November, a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile fired by Pyongyang flew 960 km, reached an altitude of 4,500 km and landed in Japanese waters.

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    Tags:
    fighter jet, missile, bomb, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), Japan, Sea of Japan
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