Japan to Develop Upgraded Submarine-Launched Missiles

Japan announced plans on April 11 to develop advanced long-range and submarine-launched missiles for deployment as early as 2026. The Ministry of Defense signed contracts worth nearly $2.8 billion with Mitsubishi Heavy industries to supply and test prototypes of the missiles. Deploying the missiles on submarines makes them more mobile and difficult to detect, complicating enemy counterattacks.

Submarines operate highly secretively; by arming them with longer-range missiles, this characteristic will be more effective and can make things more difficult for our enemies.
—Yasukadu Hamada, Japanese defense minister

The contracts also include mass-production of enhanced versions of Mitsubishi’s Type 12 missiles for land, sea and air launches. This upgraded type will have a range of 1,000 kilometers (620 miles), five times more than the current version.

Increased defense: In December, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Japan plans to double its defense spending as it feels militarily challenged by China and North Korea. The development of submarine-launched missiles is part of Japan’s “counterstrike capabilities,” the ability to directly strike enemy missiles’ launch sites before they can be fired toward Japan.

Tokyo also plans to buy hundreds of Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States for deployment in 2026. By the 2030s, Japan hopes to equip submarines with hypersonic weapons traveling at five times the speed of sound.

Threats from North Korea: One reason Japan is militarizing is because of increased provocations by North Korea. Yesterday, North Korea fired a new model of a long-range ballistic missile, causing a brief moment of panic among residents of northern Japan as they were sent automatic warning messages to evacuate and seek shelter. Earlier this year, North Korea fired a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile and two short-range ballistic missiles into Japanese waters, frightening Tokyo into an emergency meeting with the United Nations Security Council.

Prophecy says: Japan’s plans to expand its military capabilities will lead to it fully remilitarizing in the near future. Ultimately, Japan will be part of an Asian alliance that will field 200 million soldiers (Revelation 9:16). Ezekiel 38 says Russia and China will be at the head of this army. Verse 6 specifies that “Gomer” and “Togarmah”—ancient names for Japan—will be a key part of this alliance.

Learn more: Read our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches Japan’s March Toward Militarism.”