On June 15, Japan’s defense minister surprised Washington by suspending work on Aegis Ashore, a system designed to defend the home islands against a North Korean missile attack. Apparently Tokyo will need to craft a modified plan that minimizes the chance interceptor boosters will fall in civilian areas. That’s fine, but what it shouldn’t do is try shifting the land-based approach to sea. Defending the Japanese homeland against missile attack from warships would tie up scarce naval assets, greatly increase costs, limit growth options, and lead to multiyear delays. Aegis Ashore needs to proceed with modest adjustments, because the threat posed by North Korea is urgent. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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