Japan confirms deployment of anti-missile systems

Tokyo, Feb 2 (IANS) The Japanese government on Tuesday announced that it has readied itself for a possible test-firing of a ballistic missile by North Korea by deploying both ground and sea-based anti-missile interceptors.

Japan’s Defence Minister Gen Nakatani said his ministry was fully poised for any rocket or missile tests by North Korea, stating that Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, surface-to-air missile systems have been deployed at 34 locations, Xinhua news agency reported.

The locations comprise the ministry’s facilities in Ichigaya in Tokyo, as well as in Asaka and Narashino, which is close to the capital.

Nakatani said a launch could occur without prior notice and as such Japan had to ready itself for a number of potential scenarios.

He said past launches have come without any warning, and, as such, the potential for rocket or missile-related objects falling into waters around Japan existed.

The minister added that the Maritime Self-Defence 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.

In 1998, North Korea’s Taepodong-1, medium-range ballistic missile and successor to its Nodong class of missiles, was launched and flew over Japan and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

The defence ministry said at the time that the missile landed in the middle of the Sea of Japan, south of the Russian city of Vladivostok and hit the water some 386 km from the Noto Peninsula, the nearest coast of Japan, which lies 690 km northwest of Tokyo.

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