TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera did not refer to North Korea when announcing the planned acquisition and said the new missiles would be for defense, with Japan still relying on the United States to strike any enemy bases.
"We are planning to introduce the JSM (Joint Strike Missile) that will be mounted on the F-35A (stealth fighter) as 'stand-off' missiles that can be fired beyond the range of enemy threats," Onodera told a news conference.
Japan is also looking to mount Lockheed Martin Corp's extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM-ER) on its F-15 fighters, he said.
The JSM, designed by Norway's Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace , has a range of 500 km (310 miles). The JASSM-ER can hit targets 1,000 km away.
The purchase plan is likely to face criticism from opposition parties in parliament, especially from politicians wary of the watering down of Japan's renunciation of the right to wage war enshrined in its post-World War Two constitution.
Japan's missile force has been limited to anti-aircraft and anti-ship munitions with ranges of less than 300 km (186 miles).