Tokyo to sell Patriot missiles to Washington to help reload U.S. stockpiles

Japan has agreed to sell Patriot interceptor missiles to the U.S., a major shift from Tokyo‘s post-World War II policy against exporting military weapons. On Friday, the White House said the transfer will help replenish U.S. inventories while Washington arms Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida defended the decision to sell the Patriots, telling reporters the move would “contribute to the protection of a free and open international order based on the rule of law,” according to The Japan Times.

In Japan, Patriot missiles are manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries under a license from U.S. defense contractors Lockheed Martin and RTX.

In a statement released by the White House, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Japan‘s decision to sell Patriots would “contribute to the security of Japan and to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.”

He added, “U.S. forces, in close cooperation with the Japan Self-Defense Forces, will continue to maintain a credible deterrence and response capability. We will continue to work closely with our Japanese allies to promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.”

Japan‘s decision to amend its arms export policy had been anticipated since December 2022 when Tokyo updated its national defense strategy and pledged to raise defense spending to 2% of gross domestic product by 2027, the Japanese newspaper reported.

Decisions about what military hardware can be transferred in the future will be made on a case-by-case basis by Japan‘s National Security Council or a council of four ministers — the prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and chief Cabinet secretary — government officials told reporters.

Source: WT