Japan’s U-turn on Aegis combat system

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By Ben Schreer*

Without informing its US ally, Japan this week abruptly put on hold the planned deployment of two Aegis Ashore systems that were intended to bolster its defences against North Korean and Chinese missiles. Some commentators were quick to denounce the decision, arguing it would reduce Japan’s defence capability and strain the US–Japan alliance.

Not only are those risks overstated, but Tokyo’s action is also prudent for domestic, operational, strategic and alliance-management reasons.

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