Russia believes that it is the real target aegis

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Russia believes that it is the real target. Aegis Ashore istherefore seen asjust the latest link in theUnited States’ expanding network of missile defense systems, and Moscow is dismissive of Tokyo’s claim that it will be an independent Japanese system.This view was expressed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in January 2018, when he told journalists that, “We don’t know any cases anywhere in this world where the United States, having deployed its weapons systems, would hand the control over them to a host country. I have strong doubts that they will make an exception in this case.” This view will only have strengthened when Isao Iijima, a special advisor to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told the media in June that the decision to purchase Aegis Ashorewas pushed upon Japan by the United States. Prior to the final decision being taken, Russia intensively lobbiedthe Abeadministration not to agree to purchase furtherUS missile defense systems. This included the warning by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in March 2017 that the deployment of such systems “will destroy the balance in the Pacific region.” Having ignored these words of caution, Japan must expect some consequences. This was made clear immediately after the announcement of Japan’s decision to purchase the system when Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that Aegis Ashore will create “a new situation, which we logically must take account of in our military planning.” At the same time, Maria Zakharova, chief spokeswoman forthe Ministry of Foreign Affairs, warnedthat the decision “will have a negative impact on theoverall atmosphere of bilateral relations, including negotiations on the issue of a peace treaty.” Although no explicit linkhas been made, it is likely that the recentintensification of the Russianmilitary presence onthe disputed Southern Kuriles is connected withthe AegisAshoredecision.In particular, in January 2018, the Russian government issued a directive which designates the airport on the island of Iturup(Etorofu in Japanese) as dual-use. This opens the way for it to be used for military jetsand, sure enough, Su-35S fighters were deployedto the island in July. Similarly, it is possible that Russia’s foot-dragging on the implementation of joint economic activities with Japanon the disputed islands isalso a response to Aegis Ashore. This may be seen as an effective way of punishing the Japanese government since Prime Minister Abe has made the joint projects a prominent feature of his foreign policy and has presented them as a stepping stone to the resolution of the territorial dispute. Causing a setback to bilateral relations with Russiamight be a price worth paying if Aegis Ashore were to radically improve Japan’s security situation. In reality, however, it will not. No Lasting Gain in Security Although Aegis Ashore would undoubtedly enhancethe technical capabilities of Japanese missile defense, the system canstill only deal witha limited number of missiles and is not100% reliable.

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Term
Spring
Professor
BonnieW.Breen-Wagner
Tags
Ballistic missile, Missile Defense Agency, National missile defense, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System

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