On Thursday, Japan entered a contract with the United States to purchase 400 Tomahawk cruise missiles as a part of the government’s decision to increase its defense spending in response to changing security challenges in Asia.
The transaction was reported to be worth $2.4 billion, after approval was granted by the State Department on Nov. 17.
The U.S.-made munitions are long range, all-weather, subsonic weapon systems that are primarily used in ship launched surface targeting missions. They were first introduced to the U.S. Navy from Raytheon in 1983.
The acquisition comes at a time when Japan has pledged to double its defense spending to $68 billion annually by 2027. If this goal is accomplished, the Asian nation would have military expenditures comparable to the United Kingdom.
Japan has sometimes faced criticism in the past for its reluctance to maintain adequate levels of armed forces appropriation considering its modern and successful economy. Recent aggressive actions by China and North Korea have contributed to Tokyo’s desire to increase the country’s deterrence capabilities.
In January of 2023, Japan and the United States signed a modernization agreement that updated the current security relationship between the two nations.