FOCUS: Japan to Seek Alternative Missile Defense Options

Politics

Tokyo, June 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan's Defense Ministry will hurry to seek alternatives to the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system, following the government's decision to halt the system deployment program.

The government had been moving forward with plans to deploy Aegis Ashore units in the northeastern prefecture of Akita and the western prefecture of Yamaguchi, both facing the Sea of Japan.

The halt is due to the government now finding it difficult to eliminate the risk of a booster separated from an interceptor missile falling onto a nearby residential area.

The Defense Ministry is seen to consider exploring other places for Aegis Ashore sites, but these may be difficult to find after the halt to the initial deployment plans damaged public trust in the ministry.

"We'll continue to request the introduction of equipment to replace Aegis destroyers, like the Aegis Ashore system," Maritime Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff Adm. Hiroshi Yamamura said at a news conference on Tuesday, the day after Defense Minister Taro Kono announced the program halt.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press