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NUKEWARS
Japan ruling party urges strike capability amid N.Korea threat
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) March 29, 2017


U.S. Missile Defense Agency buys Lot 9 THAAD Interceptors
Washington (UPI) Mar 28, 2017 - Lockheed Martin received a $273 million contract to produce Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Lot 9 Interceptors for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense systems, or THAAD, are defensive platforms used to engage incoming ballistic missile attacks and other airborne threats. The system is capable of intercepting missiles from inside and outside of the Earth's atmosphere.

Lockheed Martin says the product is ideal for defending highly concentrated population centers and high-value infrastructures. It is also designed to be interoperable with other ballistic missile defense systems.

In addition to Lot 9 Interceptors, the fixed-price agreement also includes one-shot devices and associated production support efforts.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, work on the contract will be performed at various locations in Texas, Alabama and Arkansas. The Interceptors are expected to be delivered by the end of March 2020.

The Missile Defense Agency is managing the project.

Japan's ruling party said Wednesday the government should consider developing the capability to strike enemy bases if the country is attacked, citing North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.

For years Tokyo has harboured deep suspicion of Pyongyang and seen itself as increasingly vulnerable to its nuclear and missile ambitions.

North Korea conducted two nuclear tests last year and test-fired four ballistic missiles just this month, three of which landed off Japan's coast.

"North Korea's provocative acts are reaching levels our country can simply no longer overlook," a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) security panel said in a proposal to be submitted to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as early as Thursday.

The panel called on the government immediately to study ways to strike enemy bases if attacked, including through the deployment of cruise missiles.

It also urged the government to "immediately consider" if it should introduce the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and shore-based Aegis missile defence systems.

"We can't waste a moment to strengthen our ballistic missile defence," it said.

The recommendations, however, do not include calls for Japan to wield a so-called first strike capability, which would entail hitting an enemy before it could launch an attack.

Japan has maintained a strictly defence-only policy. Its pacifist constitution, imposed by occupying US forces after World War II, bans the use of force except in the strictest meaning of self-protection.

The United States stations some 47,000 troops in Japan and guarantees its security through a formal alliance.

Abe, who heads the LDP, is a staunch supporter of the security relationship with the US.

But he has long called for revising the constitution, seen by conservatives as an outdated legacy of the country's wartime defeat and occupation.

Under Abe Japan in 2015 passed a controversial new law that allows the Self-Defense Forces, the country's military, to go into battle to protect treaty ally the US.

Critics argue that doing so could drag Japan into distant foreign wars even if there was no direct threat to the country or its people, with some even saying the rules violate the constitution.

Abe and his supporters have argued the rules are necessary to deal with a changing security environment marked by an increasingly assertive China and an unpredictable North Korea.

NUKEWARS
North Korea's parliament to hold rare meeting: KCNA
Seoul (AFP) March 22, 2017
North Korea will hold a rare parliamentary session next month, state media reported Wednesday, as regional tensions intensify following the nuclear-armed state's recent missile tests. The country's legislative body meets only once or twice a year, mostly for day-long sessions to rubber-stamp budgets or other decisions deemed necessary by the ruling Workers' Party. The last meeting was ... read more

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com
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Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at SpaceWar.com


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