Japan will begin acquiring Tomahawk cruise missiles from the United States in fiscal 2025 — a year earlier than initially planned — in light of the increasingly challenging Asian security environment, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara announced Wednesday during a meeting in Washington with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Kihara’s trip was his first to the U.S. since he took over the defense portfolio in a Cabinet reshuffle just three weeks ago.

The missile deal is still subject to U.S. congressional approval, but the two defense chiefs had "shared the recognition" that Japan would buy the Tomahawk Block-4 missiles in the fiscal year that begins in April 2025, officials said.