Photo/IllutrationForeign Minister Taro Kono and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera present flowers on Aug. 16 before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. (Shohei Sasagawa)

WASHINGTON--The Defense Ministry plans to accelerate deployment of a land-based Aegis missile defense system as one of Japan’s new measures to strengthen security against North Korea’s heightened military provocations, sources said.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera was expected to explain Japan’s plans during talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington on the afternoon of Aug. 17, the government sources said. That meeting will follow talks joined by Foreign Minister Taro Kono and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Defense Ministry officials have already decided to include a request in the fiscal 2018 government budget for the Aegis Ashore system.

However, Japanese officials have felt a greater need to pick up the pace with Pyongyang’s heightened bluster and ballistic missile launches in recent weeks.

They will meet with U.S. officials to discuss the acquisition of the Aegis Ashore system in more specific terms.

The initial budget plan will include wording about the planned project but no monetary figure.

The specific costs will be hammered out before the end of the year and included in the request for basic design expenses for the new Aegis system in the fiscal 2018 budget.

The Defense Ministry has also decided to develop an anti-stealth radar system that can locate ballistic missiles with stealth capabilities. Work on the next-generation warning and control radar system will begin next fiscal year with an expected budget request for 19.6 billion yen ($177 million).

The ministry plans to complete the radar system by fiscal 2023.

Another project under consideration is a space monitoring system that would be jointly developed with the United States.

The plan calls for establishing a “space corps” in the Air Self-Defense Force, with operations to begin from fiscal 2023. A space radar system would keep watch over satellites to predict and prevent attacks.

The Defense Ministry plans to include a budget request to cover studies on where the radar system would be installed.

In addition, the SDF plans to take part for the first time in an international training drill in fiscal 2018 involving the U.S. military’s space monitoring structure.