>> Japan's set to make a big ticket military purchase from the US. An advanced radar for its multi-billion dollar missile defense system. That's according to three Reuters sources who said Tokyo will likely make the pick as early as Monday. And as one Japanese official told Reuters, it will be a nice gift for President Trump.
The new system named Aegis Ashore, has previously been deployed in eastern Europe. Aegis Ashore will provide cutting edge protection for Japan against what it sees as threats from North Korea and China. And as a bonus, it may help ease trade tensions with Donald Trump's White House. Trump's ratcheted up pressure on Tokyo with tariffs on steel, threats over cars, and calls for a new trade deal.
Reuters Tim Kelly is in Tokyo.>> When Abe next meets President Trump is something he can show to Trump to say, we're making efforts to reduce the trade deficit with the US. So if Japan can make these big weapons purchases, it's something that allows Trump to, feel like something he can brag about to his constituents to US voters.
>> China's military controls an arsenal of hundreds of ballistic missiles that could reach Japan. If Tokyo does pick Aegis Ashore it'll make Japan's missile defense system one of the world's most advanced.>> It is designed to destroy ballistic missile threats. So Japan wants this because it sees an immediate danger with North Korea.
Despite the easing of tensions, Japan says it's not going to change its military stances until it sees some concrete changes, some concrete evidence that North Korea is going to abandon nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. In the longer term, Japan sees a growing threat from China.>> The news of Japan's pending defense purchase came as US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited Tokyo.
His last stop on a three country Asian tour.