According to the Yomiuri newspaper on Sunday, Japan is considering deploying 1,000 long-range cruise missiles to increase its capabilities to fight China.
According to the daily, which cited official sources, the missiles would be existing weapons that had been upgraded to increase their range from 100 km (62 miles) to 1,000 km.
According to the Yomiuri, the weapons, which might be fired from ships or aeroplanes, would be positioned mostly in the southern Nansei islands and be capable of reaching China’s and North Korea’s coastal regions.
A request for comment on the report was not immediately answered by ambassadors from Japan’s foreign ministry.
Japan, which interprets its post-war constitution’s prohibition on war as allowing it to use its military only for self-defense, has increased its military spending and adopted a more assertive stance in recent years. However, it has avoided using long-range missiles, one of its restrictions on weapons that can attack targets on foreign soil.
After Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, visited Taiwan this month, a self-governing island that China also claims, regional tensions increased. Beijing fired missiles into the exclusive economic zone of Japan and toward Taiwan.