Japan has approved a proposal to purchase two land-based Aegis combat systems as part of the East Asian country’s effort to expand its ballistic missile defense capability in response to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Sources said the establishment of the proposed Aegis Ashore batteries could cost approximately $2 billion and could be deployed by 2023.
“North Korea’s nuclear missile development poses a new level of threat to Japan and as we have done in the past we will ensure that we are able to defend ourselves with a drastic improvement in ballistic missile defense,” said Itsunori Onodera, Japan’s defense minister.
North Korea carried out its third intercontinental ballistic missile test in November.
The decision over the Aegis Ashore stations came a month after the Defense Department reportedly started to exchange initial price and technical data with Japan over the ground-based Aegis defense system.