Life in Japan depends on keeping a sea routes free of threats and always open to its maritime traffic, one of the largest in the World. For this task, Japan has a powerful Navy with the “self-defense” as its main motto. In 1999 there was an unpleasant incident which served to warn that they did not have effective ships for low profile threats. Then, it was decided to build six Hayabusa class guided missiles patrol boats. These 240 tons ships have a powerful anti-ship armament and powerful engines that allow speeds up to 44 knots. They are destined to patrol Japanese territorial waters and to be a quick response to limited naval threats without having to activate large warships, that politically could be badly considered and increase the tension of an area at a certain time. The Hayabusa class entered service between 2002 and 2004 and currently all remain in service.
HAYABUSA class gallery and more info