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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

People's Daily Online

Japan confirms deployment of anti-missile systems amid DPRK launch fears

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 17:10, February 02, 2016

TOKYO, Feb. 2 -- The Japanese government confirmed Tuesday it has readied itself for a possible test-firing of a rocket or ballistic missile by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by deploying both ground and sea-based antimissile interceptors.

But while saying that diplomacy remains the first course of action, with the Japanese government stating it hopes the U.S. Security Council will be able to suitably respond to the DPRK's fourth test of a nuclear device on Jan. 6, the defense ministry said it remains on high alert.

Japan's Defense Minister Gen Nakatani told a press briefing Tuesday that his ministry is fully poised for any rocket or missile tests by the DPRK, stating that Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, surface-to-air missile systems have been deployed at 34 locations.

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

Hence, while not mentioning specifics, Japan's defense minister said 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.

Nakatani also said, however, Japan would not disclose sensitive information pertaining to possible orders to shoot down a rocket or missile, should a launch occur.

The United Nationshas 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 try to intercept it while in flight.

Should the SM-3 attempt fail, the PAC-3 interceptors stand as the second line of defense and will attempt to shoot down any inbound missile approaching Japan, the government has said.

The defense ministry's nerves were rattled back in 1998 when the DPRK'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 defense 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.

The tip of the missile, meanwhile, the ministry said, landed in the Pacific Ocean, about 580 km northeast of the U.S. Misawa Air Base, located in eastern Aomori Prefecture in the northern Tohoku region of Japan.

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