Japan May Withdraw PAC-3 Missile Interceptors As Korean Tensions Ease – Reports
12:38 30.07.2018(updated 12:44 30.07.2018)
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Japanese Defense Ministry is considering withdrawing on Monday surface-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) ballistic missile interceptors deployed in the country's north and west to counter possible missile launches from North Korea, the NHK broadcaster reported citing the ministry's officials.
According to the NHK, the Japanese Defense Ministry concluded that the situation on the Korean peninsula had sufficiently improved following the US-North Korea summit in Singapore in June, therefore reducing the possibility of ballistic missile launches by North Korea. The ministry is considering the withdrawal of troops from Japan's northern and western regions on Monday as well.
However, the ministry noted that a special order on "destruction measures" against ballistic missiles would remain in force in order to counter any possible missile launches. The ministry is also taking steps to be able to promptly deploy PAC-3 defense systems if the situation on the Korean Peninsula deteriorates.
The Japanese Defense Ministry is also expected to retain a PAC-3 unit in Tokyo's Ichigaya district.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has significantly improved within the last several months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un having held two rounds of talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and a top-level summit with US leader Donald Trump in Singapore.
In August, Japan deployed PAC-3 defense systems in prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime, and Kochi in response to North Korea's announcement that it has a plan for a potential missile strike near the US Pacific island territory of Guam. In September, the Japanese government decided to deploy an additional PAC-3 unit in the northern city of Hakodate after a missile launched by Pyongyang flew over Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido.
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