TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) – Japan is considering amassing an arsenal of more than 1,000 of its planned long-range missiles, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday (Aug 21), citing unidentified people with knowledge of the plans.

The projectiles, which have a range of 500km to 5,500km, will be deployed mainly across the Nansei Islands and Kyushu, according to the article.

By doing so, Japan is seeking to close the “missile gap” with China, which has about 300 sea-based and 1,900 land-based missiles, according to the newspaper.

Japan embarked on a programme a few years ago to boost its missile capabilities in the face of potential threats from China and North Korea.

The latest report on the scale of a potential Japanese stockpile follows China’s recent military exercises in waters and airspace around Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island.

Japan is also planning to upgrade and extend the capability of its domestically produced Type 12 surface-to-ship missile deployed by the Ground Self Defence Force to hit objects more than 1,000km away, Yomiuri reported.