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10:42 AM, November 28, 2016
Japan Likely To Include $9 Billion In Third Supplementary Budget To Upgrade Patriot Missile Capability
Patriot Missile Defense System (Image: Raytheon)

The Japanese government is likely to include an approximate $9 billion (¥1 trillion) in its third supplementary budget for the fiscal 2016 as part of its investment of its missile defense system in response to North Korean ballistic missile launches.

The government intends to compile a total supplementary budget of around ¥1 trillion, excluding economic stimulus measures, Japan News quoted unnamed government sources as saying Sunday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to instruct Finance Minister Taro Aso soon to start compiling the budget. The government will likely approve the supplementary budget at a Cabinet meeting in mid-December last year, and submit it to an ordinary Diet session to be convened next year.

The Self-Defense Forces have a two-tier anti-missile system. Any missiles that make it through the Aegis-equipped destroyers and their S-M3s are met with the ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors.

The government also will earmark about ¥7 billion ($6 million) to add the missile defense function to the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Aegis-equipped vessels.

Lockheed Martin will expand the Aegis fleet in Japan. The seventh and eighth Aegis ships will join Japan's fleet. Aegis provides four of Japan's Kongo-class destroyers and two Atago-class destroyers with advanced sea, air and undersea threat detection capabilities. The Self Defense Forces ofJapan joined the Aegis family in 1993.

The government plans to appropriate about ¥188 billion ($1.6 billion) for the purchase of improved Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air guided missiles, and for the costs to upgrade a system to equip the advanced PAC-3 missiles.

The budget request will also include a PAC-3 upgrade to increase range. Japan is likely to make a significant upgrade to its Patriot missile defence system in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and to be able to intercept more advanced North Korean ballistic missiles in future.

While PAC-3 missiles currently deployed in Japan have a range of about 15 to 20 kilometers, the improved version could almost double the range.

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