The United States and Japan to develop a hypersonic interceptor missile – Yomiuri

The national flags of the United States and Japan are flown next to the traditional Okinawan Shisa statue at US Navy Camp Foster in Ginowan, on the southern island of Okinawa, Japan June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Tim Kelly

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan and the United States will agree this week to jointly develop an interceptor missile to counter hypersonic warheads being developed by China, Russia and North Korea, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Sunday.

Agreement on interceptor missiles to target weapons designed to evade existing ballistic missile defenses is expected when President Joe Biden meets with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in the United States on Friday, the report said, without giving any source of information.

Officials at the Japanese Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment outside of business hours.

Unlike typical ballistic warheads, which fly in predictable trajectories as they fall from space to their targets, hypersonic projectiles can change trajectory, making them more difficult to target.

The Yomiuri newspaper said that Biden and Kishida will meet on the sidelines of the trilateral summit with South Korean President Yoon Sok Yul at the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland.

The United States and Japan agreed in January to consider developing the interceptor at a meeting of Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin with their Japanese counterparts Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada.

The agreement will be the second such cooperation in missile defense technology.

Washington and Tokyo have developed a long-range missile designed to hit warheads in space, and Japan is deploying it on warships in the sea between Japan and the Korean Peninsula to protect against North Korean missile strikes.

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(Reporting by Tim Kelly). Edited by William Mallard

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