The two American made Aegis Ashore land-based missile batteries Japan intends to deploy could cost double the initial quotation to a tune of approximately 400 billion yen (US $3.6 billion), according to the Japanese Defense Ministry Monday.
The prices of the interceptor missiles to be mounted on the batteries and other costs could rise to nearly 600 billion yen (US $5.4 billion), Mainchi reported Tuesday.
The government is pushing to install the Aegis Ashore system in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures to strengthen Japan's defenses against potential threats from North Korean nuclear weapons or missiles, aiming to bring them into operation in fiscal 2023. Two batteries are believed to be sufficient to cover Japan's entire territory.
The estimate has ballooned as the ministry mulls introducing Lockheed Martin's Solid State Radar (SSR) as a key component of the missile shield system, which turned out to be more expensive than the radar currently deployed on the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers, the news daily quoted an unnamed source as saying.
Costs for building facilities at host sites for the Aegis Ashore system are also expected to rise, while the SM-3 Block 2A interceptor missiles co-developed by Japan and the United States are set to carry a price tag of around 4 billion yen (US $3.6 billion)each, further pushing up the total expenses, the source said.
The government decided at a Cabinet meeting in December last year to introduce the land-based missile defense system. At the time Japan felt an increasing need to reinforce its missile shield, with North Korea last year test-firing around 20 ballistic missiles, two of which flew over Japanese territory.