Why does Japan abandon the Aegis program?

(To Alessandro Rugolo)
TBU

2020 will perhaps be remembered as the year of the change of the national strategy: from a purely defensive posture Japan could in fact move on to something different.
The Japan National Security Council, an organization created in 2013 to support the prime minister in national security policy, has in fact taken the decision to abandon the program for the acquisition of two US missile systems Aegis Ashore. Defense Minister Taro Kono made the announcement.

The program, launched in 2017, consisted of the acquisition of two missile systems to be positioned on the island of Honshu, in the ground bases of Yamaguchi (in the south) and Akita (in the north). The two systems were to complete the national defense system, consisting of the planned eight destroyers, equipped with the Aegis system and missiles Patriot.

The two systems allegedly guaranteed nationwide coverage for detecting and combating any attacks from North Korea.

At the basis of the decision to abandon the program there are various considerations including the cost which, in the estimates, is around 4,1 billion dollars for the purchase, maintenance and maintenance for 30 years.

Other problems lie in the real ability of the Aegis system to effectively counteract the new generation hypersonic missiles capable of moving at speeds close to Mach 20.
Safety issues related to the drop zone of the SM-3 Block IIA missile thruster interceptor, raised by the population, they added to the high budgeted cost, to decree its end.

Two ground stations equipped with the Aegis Ashore System have already been installed, one in Romania and one in Poland (photo), apparently located in locations not at risk for the population.

There seem to be other, far more important, reasons behind the closure of the program which suggest a fundamental change in the Japanese security strategy. Indeed, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the government is considering acquiring a "preemptive strike" capability.

The doctrine of preemptive strike was born with the war in Iraq conducted under the Bush administration and asserted the right of the USA to take unilateral military action against the so-called "rogue states" or against terrorist organizations in order to prevent or mitigate an alleged attack against United States.

This doctrine has been criticized at the time and it is still criticized both internationally and, and even more so, in Japan, where it is considered to be in clear violation of the national Constitution, essentially poor. In any case, the government has begun to revise its "National Security Policy" according to the indications received by the prime minister.

Japan, whatever you decide on preemptive strike, must now resolve the issue related to the commitments made with the North American Ally, in particular with Lockheed Martin, with contracts already signed for more than a billion dollars.

Discussions with Americans on the future of Japanese defense are still ongoing.

The strategic risk for which the program was launched is always present: the North Korean medium-range ballistic missiles Pukguksong-2 (photo) are now mass-produced.

To learn more:
- https://time.com/5859133/japan-aegis-ashore-missile-defense/
- https://www.defensenews.com/global/asia-pacific/2020/06/23/japans-new-mi...
- https://thediplomat.com/2020/06/japan-suspends-aegis-ashore-missile-defe...
- https://www.jstor.org/preview-page/10.2307/20445135?seq=1
- https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/japan-halts-deployment-of-aegis-ash...
- https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/06/25/national/deployment-aegis-a...
- https://news.usni.org/2020/06/26/japan-officially-ends-aegis-ashore-plan...
- https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/aegis-combat-system/aegis-...
- https://news.usni.org/2020/06/26/japan-officially-ends-aegis-ashore-plan...
- https://www.upi.com/Defense-News/2020/06/25/Japan-cancels-plans-to-deplo...
- https://spfusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Japan%E2%80%99s-New-Nation...
- https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/06/25/Japan-scraps-US-A...
- https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/06/japans-aegis-ashore-a-tale-...
- https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a22791042/the-first-us....

Photo: US Navy / kcna