Japan to Mull Aegis Ashore in Areas Other Than Akita, Yamaguchi

Politics

Akita, Aug. 27 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Defense Ministry will consider deploying the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system in areas near Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures, a senior ministry official said Monday.

"We will mull (deployment of the Aegis Ashore system) in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures, as well as their vicinities," Masaki Fukasawa, deputy director-general of the defense minister's Secretariat, said at a meeting with Akita Governor Norihisa Satake.

Fukasawa's statement is believed to have been made to soften Satake's stance on the deployment, people familiar with the matter said.

The ministry plans to open bidding on Sept. 12 to select companies to conduct geological and water surveys for the Ground Self-Defense Force training areas in the northeastern city of Akita and in Hagi in the western prefecture of Yamaguchi.

During the talks, held at the Akita prefectural government office, Fukasawa told Satake that the ministry will include in its discussions government-owned sites that are outside the SDF's jurisdiction, in case the two areas are deemed unfit to host the Aegis Ashore system from the survey results.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press