JAPAN: Suga puts political needs first in new missile defense plan

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The Suga cabinet approved a new missile defense plan on Friday, 18 December, replacing the previous plan suspended earlier this year to deploy an Aegis Ashore missile defense system purchased from the US. The new plan highlights the cross-cutting pressures on the Japanese government, as it manages China’s growing military power and North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals, budgetary constraints, alliance management with the US, and lingering domestic opposition to Japan’s acquiring more offensive capabilities. Instead of deploying Aegis Ashore, the new plan calls for acquiri
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