• Defense & Security

Japanese Government Earmarks ¥373.1 billion for 2 Aegis-Equipped Vessels; Response to North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Threat

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Defense Ministry in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo

The government has earmarked ¥373.1 billion of its fiscal 2024 budget for the production of two Aegis-equipped vessels capable of intercepting enemy missiles. The fiscal 2024 budget proposal was approved by the Cabinet on Friday.

The government aims to strengthen missile defense capabilities in response to the threat of North Korea’s ballistic missiles.

Production is set to begin in fiscal 2024, and the two vessels are scheduled to be commissioned in fiscal 2027 and 2028 respectively.

The vessels are alternatives to the abandoned ground-based Aegis Ashore project.

New Aegis-equipped vessels will be more capable of intercepting missiles than any of the current eight Aegis-equipped destroyers operated by the Self-Defense Forces.

The defense budget also included ¥9.3 billion for the cost of creating a joint operational command headquarters, which will be established by the end of fiscal 2024.

The joint headquarters will command Ground, Maritime and Air defense forces in an integrated manner. It will be established with 240 staff members in Tokyo’s Ichigaya area.

The defense budget also secured ¥20.6 billion for works related to a defense innovation technology research institute which will be newly established in fiscal 2024. The institute is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under the U.S. Defense Department.