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Tuesday, September 26 2023
World

Japan gets unofficial invite to join AUKUS military alliance

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Tokyo: Japan has received an unofficial offer to become part of the AUKUS military bloc, which was formed last year by Australia, the UK and the US, media reports said.

Several unnamed Japanese government officials told the paper that Tokyo has been informally approached on such a possibility by each of the three members of the alliance, RT reported, citing the Sankei Shimbun newspaper.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno, however, denied the report on Wednesday, saying that “there is no fact” in the Sankei Shimbun article. Tokyo was “not asked to participate in AUKUS”, he said.

The AUKUS pact, which is largely seen as a strategy to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific, was announced by the leaders of Australia, the UK and the US in September 2021.

Its initial aim was to provide Canberra with a fleet of nuclear-powered, yet conventionally armed, submarines. But last week the trio announced that they were also going to cooperate on developing hypersonic tech, with Japan expressing support for the decision

According to Sankei Shimbun, involving Tokyo in developing hypersonic missiles is one of the main motivations behind the AUKUS offer.

Two years ago, Japan announced plans to create two types of hypersonic weapons – hypersonic cruise missiles (HCMs) and hyper-velocity gliding projectiles (HVGPs) – saying that they could be fielded sometime between 2024 and 2028.

The country is also working on a special railgun that it believes could be able to shoot down incoming hypersonic missiles by firing shells at extremely high speeds using electromagnetic force.

Canberra, London and Washington are also interested in the country’s capabilities in cyberwarfare, AI and quantum technologies, the paper said.

Sankei Shimbun insisted that the Japanese government generally has a “positive opinion” about joining AUKUS, suggesting that it would increase the potential to deter China, RT reported.

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