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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Russia warns Japan over Patriot missiles

Tokyo’s decision to export the munitions to the US has negative consequences for global security, the foreign ministry in Moscow has claimed

Russia has slammed Japan’s decision to send Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missiles to the US, warning the move will hurt relations between Moscow and Tokyo, especially if the munitions end up in Ukraine.

Speaking during a regular press briefing in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Japan’s move is bound to damage regional and global stability alike.

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“The administration of [Japanese PM Fumio Kishida] once again confirmed its course towards a consistent dismantling of the pacifist provisions of the country’s post-war constitution. Coupled with the accelerated remilitarization of Japan, this will have tangible negative consequences for global and regional security,” Zakharova stated.

Apart from violating the country’s own principles as enshrined in its own constitution, Japan is effectively losing control over its weapons, with the US now moving them around as it sees fit, the spokeswoman noted. Should the Japanese PAC-3 missiles end up being shipped to Ukraine, the development will have a grave impact on ties between Russia and Japan, she warned.

“If Japanese missiles fall into the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, such actions will be considered as unambiguously hostile towards Russia and will spell the most serious consequences for Japan,” Zakharova stressed.

Japan agreed to supply PAC-3 missiles, which it produces under a US license, to Washington last week after ending its ban on military exports imposed under the country’s pacifist constitution back in 1947. Tokyo is now able to export weapons made in Japan under foreign licenses to the licensing nations.

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“In taking the action, we hope to contribute to defend a free and open international order based on the rule of law, and to achieve the peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region,” Kishida stated after the Japanese Cabinet agreed to overturn the export ban.

However, the PM insisted that “there is no change to our principle as a pacifist nation.”
While the Japanese-made missiles are not expected to go directly to Ukraine, the shipment may enable Washington to send more US-made Patriots to Kiev, replacing them in the country’s stocks with Japanese-made ones.

Tokyo’s revision of its arms-exports policy comes amid a continuing military buildup in Japan, launched by Kishida last year. The five-year buildup plan could make Japan the world’s third-biggest defense spender, behind only the US and China. On the same day when the PAC-3 export decision came, the Japanese government approved a record 16% hike in military spending, which is now pending approval from the country’s parliament.