WASHINGTON, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Japan confirms BMD coop with United States
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, with a less than a year left in office, is keeping up the rapid pace he has set for Japanese-U.S. integration in the development of ballistic missile defense.
On Saturday, the Koizumi government, still riding high after a sweeping reelection victory earlier this year, confirmed as expected the development of an ambitious multi-billion dollar BMD system with the United States. Koizumi's Cabinet and the nation's Security Council formally approved the new program.
Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe called the system critical for Japan's defense and said it was essential to enable Japan to counter any attack from ballistic missiles.
Japan and the United States have been working together for six years to research missile defense. The two allies launched the project after North Korea in 1998 test-fired a long-range missile, which flew over Japan.
The president of Japan's National Defense Academy, Tadashi Nishihara, told the Voice of America that the new joint missile defense project has faced criticism from China.
"They will continue to criticize us for research, development and also deployment. But as our defense white paper has mentioned, there is a growing concern about the increase in the number of missiles being deployed by China," he said. "Therefore, the tension between China and Japan may intensify."
The decision reflects growing Japanese concern not only over North Korea's developing nuclear and ballistic missile programs but also those of China, and China's growing strategic ties with Russia. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso recently warned that China was beginning to be a threat to Japan.
The next stage for the joint project will be to actually produce an advanced model of the sea-based missile interceptor. The Japanese government has authorized $30 million in next year's budget for development costs. But there is no set date for deployment of the system, the VOA said.
"Scotsman" warns on Russian missiles
Over the past four months, United Press International's BMD Watch and our sister BMD Focus columns have been consistently monitoring a series of Russian intercontinental ballistic missile tests more ambitious and larger in scale and in the technological advances involved than any for almost a quarter of a century. Now, following the fifth successful test of a Topol-M ICBM, also monitored in these columns, that concern is being picked up around the world.
The prestigious British newspaper "The Scotsman" warned in an editorial Monday that "with the very public deployment of Russia's new fifth strategic missile regiment and a successful test firing of the latest Russian intercontinental ballistic missile, the Topol-M ... the world is entering a danger zone not seen since the end of the Cold War.
Although the paper also noted "Iran's desire to obtain nuclear weapons, and North Korea's deployment of rockets capable of hitting the United States" it nevertheless concluded, "Iran and North Korea are minor players. Ultimately, it is in the interests of Russia and China, as much as the United States, to keep these rogue states in check."
The paper, however, took far more seriously "Russia's decision to deploy a new generation of rockets designed specifically to bypass western anti-missile defenses. President Vladimir Putin is giving Russia a potential first-strike capacity at a time when the United States has actually scrapped its most advanced ballistic missile, the MX Peacemaker."
The Scotsman noted "that in 2002, (Presidents) George Bush and (Vladimir) Putin effectively agreed to abandon all the carefully negotiated arms treaties of the Reagan-Gorbachev era which limited strategic missile deployment and the number of nuclear warheads each side could deploy. America interpreted this as agreement to switch emphasis to developing new defensive systems. But Russia -- lacking the technology and the finances -- concentrated on new offensive systems, risking a new arms race. Ominously, Russian sources have implied that later Topol-Ms will be equipped with multiple nuclear warheads. " This, the paper noted was "a clear breach" of the old START-II Treaty.
"The new missiles are an early alarm bell," The Scotsman said. If, on top of their development and deployment, "Putin ignores the constitutional bar on a running for a third presidential terms," the paper continued, then "the Russian Bear may be on the prowl again."
Russia's Bulava passes new tests
Russia's sea-based Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile got a seal of approval last Thursday from some of the top administrators of the nation's missile development program. A State Commission meeting in Severodvinsk concluded that in its latest test -firing the missile, designed to outwit and out-fly any existing U.S. anti-ballistic program, had achieved all its goals in its latest live action test, Yuri Solomonov, chief designer of the Moscow Heat Technology Institute, told the Itar-Tass news agency.
"As usual after such tests, the State Commission assessed the results of the launching. Its conclusion is that the tasks of the launching have been fulfilled," Solomon said. His MHTI was where the Bulava and the other solid-fuel ballistic missiles Pioneer, Topol and the Topol-M were created.
"The launching was a fresh step in the tests of the Bulava missile complex," Solomonov said. Its success was the result of the work of the Russian defense industry complex and of hundreds of enterprises interacting with the institute, he said.
The builders of Russia's nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser at the Rubin central design office of naval equipment in St Petersburg contributed much to the success of the Bulava program, the chief designer said.
The strategic nuclear submarine Dmitry Donskoi successfully fired the Bulava last Wednesday, Dec. 21 from the White Sea area in the direction of the Kura range on the Kamchatka peninsula thousands of miles to the east, Itar-Tass said.
"This was the second firing of the Bulava missile of the new generation and the first submerged launching of the missile," Captain First Class Igor Dygalo, the aide of the commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy, told Itar-Tass. At the preset time, warheads of the missile hit dummies in the range with preset accuracy.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reported the results of the launch to President Vladimir Putin the same day it occurred. Ivanov also expressed confidence that the Russia's Navy would adopt the Bulava missile complex for service in 2008, Itar-Tass said.