The policy affairs chief of the Liberal Democratic Party said Tuesday he thinks the government should promote a joint technical research project with the United States on theater missile defense.

Taku Yamasaki said at the LDP’s executive council meeting that necessary expenditures for the joint research should be included in the Defense Agency’s budget request for the next fiscal year.

The U.S. has been asking Japan and Europe to participate in the TMD plan to counter the threat of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. Tokyo has been conducting a feasibility study of the plan since 1995, allocating about 550 million yen.

Yamasaki also said it is necessary to fully explain Japan’s involvement in TMD research to other Asian countries, especially China, since such research is a very sensitive issue.

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