The Government of Japan is considering mounting air-to-ground cruise missiles on national Air Self-Defense Forces’ fighters to protect against the North Korean threat, as reported by the newspaper, Asahi.
It is noted that the associated research costs will be included in the fiscal 2018 budget plan (which starts on April 1, 2018). According to the newspaper’s source, the government is especially interested in the acquisition of Lockheed Martin Corp's JASSM air-to-ground missile which has a range of 900 kilometers.
At present, Japan does not have weapons that could, for example, strike at ground bases in the territory of another state. The Constitution of Japan restricts the capacity of the country's Self-Defense Forces and prohibits them from possessing offensive weapons. However, the Government of Japan, led by Shinzo Abe, maintains the position that a pre-emptive strike against an enemy base that directly threatens the security of Japan can be considered as self-defense.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula persist due to the active development of DPRK'S missile and nuclear programs, as well as the military maneuvers carried out by the United States and their allies in the region. The DPRK conducted two ballistic missile tests in July and two more missiles that were launched on August 29th and September 15th flew over Japan, and on September 3rd the DPRK announced a successful hydrogen bomb test. The UN Security Council sharply tightened international sanctions against the Republic in response.
The DPRK, which had refrained from any provocative actions for 75 days since mid-September, unexpectedly launched a Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29th. According to experts, this revolutionary new missile can overcome distances of up to 13,000 km. This places practically all of the territory of the United States in the affected area.