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Japan weighs hypersonic missile deployment by 2030 to boost deterrence

Chinese and North Korean threat spurs push for stronger counterstrike capability

A Tomahawk cruise missile is launched from a U.S. destroyer in 2011. Japan could acquire these missiles as a first step toward gaining hypersonic capabilities. (U.S. Navy via Getty Images/Kyodo)

TOKYO -- Japan's Defense Ministry is considering the deployment of hypersonic missiles by 2030, seeking to bolster counterstrike capabilities to deter regional threats as the war in Ukraine transforms the global security landscape.

Hypersonic missiles fly at five times or more the speed of sound and on a more complex trajectory than ballistic missiles, making them difficult to shoot down. Given North Korean and Chinese advancements in missile capabilities, Japan believes it needs to be able to not only intercept incoming projectiles, but to strike back if necessary.

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