Tokyo: Japan’s Defense Ministry on Tuesday announced that its ground-based missile interception system would be permanently deployed at a location in Tokyo following the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s increasingly frequent launches of ballistic missiles.
Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, surface-to-air missile system would be permanently deployed by this time next year at the ministry’s facilities in Ichigaya in Tokyo to safeguard the capital and the government’s personnel and main defensive assets.
The move from Tokyo follows Pyongyang, in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions and following increasing condemnation from the international community, launches of five projectiles into waters off its east coast on Monday.
Nakatani said Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have been ordered to shoot down any inbound ballistic missiles from the DPRK that is either aimed at, or would see stages of the missile fall toward Japanese territory.
He also said that following the latest redeployment on Friday of the PAC-3 interceptors in Ichigaya, that batteries were, in fact, still deployed in Asaka in Tokyo and Narashino, which is close to Tokyo.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it was on high alert following the DPRK’s latest series of missile launches and urged Pyongyang to exercise restraint.
“Japan will continue to coordinate with related countries to urge North Korea to exercise restraint and follow U.N. Security Council resolutions banning Pyongyang from conducting any launch using ballistic missile technology,” Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told a press briefing.
Kishida added that Japan would take all measures possible to respond to any number of provocative scenarios involving the DPRK, although declined to mention whether Tokyo had lodged an official protest to the latest launches with Pyongyang.
Following the DPRK’s fourth nuclear test in January and ahead of a subsequent launch of a long range rocket in February, which was widely seen as a de facto test of banned ballistic technology, Japan deployed its full complement of PAC-3 interceptor systems at more that 30 locations.
Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Aegis destroyers, equipped with the Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor systems, have also been deployed in the Sea of Japan and surrounding waters.
The United States has satellites capable of issuing early warnings of missile launches, and the defense ministry here has said that if a launch is detected by satellites, or X-band radars detect an incoming missile, the SM-3 system would be the first to try to intercept it while in flight.
Should the SM-3 attempt fail, the PAC-3 interceptor’s stand as the second line of defense and will attempt to shot down any inbound missile approaching Japan.
The ministry has allocated 900 million yen (8.04 million U.S. dollars) to cover the costs of the permanent deployment of the PAC-3 system in Tokyo.