Japan is launching a feasible study to add US-built Aegis missile defense system to its defense capability amid rising nuclear threats by North Korea.
Deployment of a land-based Aegis Ashore system could take place several years from now, the government sources told Japan Times Friday.
A large amount of land would be required to host the system, and the government is looking for candidate sites that include areas along the Sea of Japan, which faces North Korea, the sources said.
The report has also mentioned the possibility of Japanese government adopting the state-of-the-art Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile shield system, but the current focus will be Aegis since it is less expensive and has a broader defense range.
According to the report, THAAD costs about ¥125 billion ($1.1 billion) for each unit, and Japan would need around six units to protect the whole country, whereas, an Aegis Ashore unit costs about ¥80 billion and only two would be needed to cover the same amount of area.
The move comes after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party proposed in March that the government consider developing the ability to strike enemy bases. The LDP also floated the idea of introducing a new missile shield system.