GETTY- PAForeign minister Taro Kono said China needed to do more to stop Kim
A statement issued by the cabinet shortly after approving the plan said it was urgent for Japan to upgrade its ballistic missile defense capabilities in light of the "imminent" threat posed by Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Defence officials say two Aegis Ashore units can cover Japan entirely by using advanced missile interceptors such as SM-3 Block IIA that was jointly developed by Japan and the USA, and would cost around 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion), though they have not released exact figures.
As Aegis Ashore is a land-based facility, it can be operated with fewer personnel than an Aegis destroyer and allows for more effective missile-interception measures to be adopted.
Japan chose Aegis Ashore ahead of other land-based missile defenses, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, system that the US recently deployed to South Korea.
Each Aegis Ashore battery is estimated to cost approximately $8.9 billion, reports Bloomberg.
EPAJapan's Taro Kono and Seoul's Kang Kyung-wha discussed China's role in North Korea
The two units will be able to cover nearly all of the nation's territory and are expected to enhance its ability to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles.
The systems are expected to be deployed at the proving grounds of the Japanese armed forces in the northern prefecture of Akita and in the southwestern prefecture of Yamaguchi by 2023, but the country may accelerate their deployment.
Abe has said he fully backs U.S. President Donald Trump's policy of keeping all options on the table, including possible military actions, against the North. Abe has vowed to bolster Japan's security co-operation and increase use of advanced U.S. missile defence equipment.
North Korea has fired two missiles over Japan this year, as well as three intercontinental ballistic missiles on steep trajectories into the Sea of Japan. THAAD's coverage area is smaller than Aegis Ashore and it would require more units to cover Japan, defense officials said. It will be equipped with newly developed SM-3 Block 2A interceptors with enhanced defensive coverage and accuracy compared with the SM-3.
The purchase of what will become the longest-range munitions in Japan's military arsenal is controversial because it renounced the right to wage war against other nations in its post-World War Two constitution.
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