Japan’s military is increasing funding for missile research. Photo by MC1 Michael Russell/U.S. Navy | License Photo
Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Japan is developing a hypersonic missile that could reach speeds of Mach-5 or higher, according to local reports.
Kyodo News reported Wednesday Tokyo has allocated more funds, or about $57 million, toward research and development for the missiles in next year's defense budget.
The Japanese government's decision to develop the weapons comes at a time when North Korea's Kim Jong Un has said he supports the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The missile Japan seeks to develop is capable of attacking enemy bases. Concerns are rising they violate the principles of the country's defense-oriented policy under the constitution, according to Kyodo.
Japan's defense ministry plans to build a prototype of a scramjet engine and research technologies for burning jet fuel during high-speed flight, as well as technology for heat-resistant materials.
Tests will take place from 2023 to 2025.
The defense ministry said the missile will be used for the "defense of the island" and will not be used the way they are deployed in the U.S. military, according to Kyodo.
Japan has previously cited threats from North Korea, and China, as reasons for increasing its defense budget.
In South Korea, President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un agreed to a number of agreements that could ease tensions at the border.
Starting Nov. 1 the two sides will create a military "buffer zone" across land and sea.
No-fly areas will extend to areas outside the demilitarized zone.
South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said Wednesday the military agreement is a "non-aggression pact" between the two Koreas.
Moon leaves Pyongyang on Thursday.