Media: the US pointed out to Japan that the new plan to strengthen missile defence was not sustainable

This includes, in particular, the need for costly retrofitting of systems to be installed on ships for land-based accommodation.

The United States believes that the option that Japan is considering to strengthen its missile defence (BMD) by building specialised ships to counteract purely ballistic missiles is both costly and unsustainable. This was reported on Wednesday by the NHK television channel, citing sources in the Japanese government.

The American side believes that the use of elements of Aegis Ashore ground complexes, which Japan refused to place, may lead to high budget expenditures and technical problems. In particular, this involves the need for expensive retrofitting in order to install systems on ships that are intended to be placed on land. The U.S. also states that other technical changes to these complexes are required in order to maintain their effectiveness at sea.

Japan is currently using a two-tier missile defence system. The ships equipped with the Aegis systems have SM-3 interceptor missiles, which should shoot down a ballistic missile in the middle stage of its trajectory. If this fails, the second level of missile defence will be used, using Patriot PAC-3 systems capable of intercepting the missile in the final phase of its flight.

Japan intended to purchase two Aegis Ashore ground systems from the USA, but eventually abandoned these plans. The main argument for this decision was that launching missiles from existing facilities cannot guarantee that their boosters will fall strictly within the military base or at sea, which would endanger public safety. In exchange for the authorities, the country must develop a new strategy for strengthening missile defence this autumn.

As the Nikkei newspaper reported earlier, the priority is to build specialised ships to counteract ballistic missile strikes. According to the Japanese government, this option would be cheaper than increasing the number of ships with Aegis systems, which are more technologically advanced and have the ability to prevent an attack from a combat aircraft or submarine. Furthermore, it will not require approval from the local authorities, as is the case with the Aegis Ashore deployment. Even before their direct deployment according to the initial plan, the government was criticized by the administrations of Yamaguchi and Akita prefectures, which were selected as the locations for the complexes.

The new ships can use equipment worth around 180 billion yen ($1.69 billion), which the American side is to deliver as part of the already concluded contract for Aegis Ashore. In particular, this includes the SPY-7 radar produced by the Lockheed Martin Corporation.