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 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.