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International relations

Japan expanding missile defense with eye on China, Russia

Tokyo sees Aegis Ashore defending against both ballistic and cruise missiles

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, center, speaks with reporters after visiting a test facility for the Aegis Ashore.   © Kyodo

KAUAI, U.S. -- As Japan looks to bolster missile defenses with the Aegis Ashore surface-to-air system, citing North Korean threats, the growing attack capabilities of China and Russia appears to be driving Tokyo's decision as well.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera suggested Wednesday that Japan could use Aegis Ashore, a land-based version of the Aegis missile defense system used on ships, against a greater range of targets, such as incoming cruise missiles. Aegis Ashore, developed by the U.S., is designed primarily to shoot down ballistic missiles outside Earth's atmosphere. Onodera made the comment while visiting a test site on this Hawaiian island.

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