Skip to content
Edit post

Japan to transfer Patriot missiles to US

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk December 22, 2023 3:39 PM 2 min read
MIM-104 Patriot short-range anti-aircraft missile systems for defense against aircraft, cruise missiles, and medium-range tactical ballistic missiles photographed on July 24, 2022, at Rzeszow Airport, Poland. (Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Japan changed its laws regarding arms exports, allowing for the transfer of weapons, the Japanese Foreign Ministry announced on Dec. 22. The ministry added that it will send the U.S. Patriot missiles, paving the way for the U.S. to replenish its stocks while potentially sending Ukraine some of its own current supply.

The move represented a significant shift in Japan's pacifist foreign policy, which has long prohibited the international export of arms. The change in rules still does not allow for the export of weapons to countries currently at war, so Japan cannot send Patriot missiles directly to Ukraine.

As Russia continues to ramp up its onslaught of attacks against civilian infrastructure, Ukraine remains in desperate need of modern air defenses to thwart Russian airstrikes this winter. In October, President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia would likely attempt to destroy Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

Ukraine has seen success with its Patriot missiles, some of the most advanced air defense systems the country possesses.

Ukraine received its first Patriot systems in April 2023 and soon after proved their effectiveness by downing air-launched ballistic Kinzhal missiles, lauded by Moscow as "unstoppable hypersonic" weapons.

The U.S. would still need to obtain permission from the Japanese government before transferring the weapons abroad.

U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that Japan plans to send dozens of Patriot missiles to the U.S. as early as the beginning of 2024. The missiles cost millions of dollars each, and the producer, Lockheed Martin, currently makes only 550 annually.

"The impact of Japan’s shipments will depend on how many missiles the U.S. in turn provides to Ukraine," the WSJ said.

The decision to send Patriot missiles to the U.S. "helps us manage our inventory of Patriots, given Ukraine and the Middle East, with a little more flexibility and strategic deployment,” said Rahm Emanuel, U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Japan has committed more than $7 billion in aid to Ukraine, the majority of which is humanitarian. Some military aid has been provided, but it has been limited to non-lethal equipment due to the restrictions on weapons exports.

Ukraine finally moves to fortify front line, but could it be too little too late?
“If you want to live, dig.” The words, often spoken by Ukrainian troops, are universal advice for trench warfare in general, but especially for both sides in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Normally expressed as advice to the individual soldier, the maxim now applies to the country as a whole.
Support independent journalism in Ukraine. Join us in this fight.
Freedom can be costly. Both Ukraine and its journalists are paying a high price for their independence. Support independent journalism in its darkest hour. Support us for as little as $1, and it only takes a minute.
visa masterCard americanExpress

News Feed

9:13 PM

UK will boost humanitarian aid to Ukraine by over $10 million.

"Ukrainians are bravely defending their land against Russia’s brutal invasion, but the past two years of war have had a tragic impact on millions of people across Ukraine. Families have been separated, towns and villages decimated, and vital civilian infrastructure destroyed," said U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron in a written statement.
Ukraine Daily
News from Ukraine in your inbox
Ukraine news
Please, enter correct email address
2:30 PM

Russia's Supreme Court head dies in Moscow.

Vyacheslav Lebedev, who was chairman of Russia's Supreme Court since December 1991, died in Moscow on Feb. 23. Russia's judiciary has long been controlled by the Kremlin, with the country's parliament rubber stamping a heap of oppressive legislation, while courts handing out politically motivated sentences.
2:22 PM

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives in Kyiv.

"With their indomitable courage I have no doubt that the Ukrainians will win and expel Putin’s forces – provided we give them the military, political and economic help that they need," Johnson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
1:44 PM

Zelensky: 'We are 730 days closer to victory'.

"Any normal person wants the war to end. But none of us will allow our Ukraine to end," President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video marking the two-year anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
MORE NEWS

Editors' Picks

Enter your email to subscribe
Please, enter correct email address
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required
* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Subscribe
* indicates required

Subscribe

* indicates required
Successfuly subscribed
Thank you for signing up for this newsletter. We’ve sent you a confirmation email.