Kono Visits Yamaguchi to Apologize for Aegis Ashore Program Halt
Yamaguchi, June 19 (Jiji Press)--Defense Minister Taro Kono visited Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, on Friday to apologize to local communities for the government's decision to suspend the planned deployment of the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system there.
"We deeply apologize for reaching a conclusion like this," Kono said at a meeting with Yamaguchi Governor Tsugumasa Muraoka at the prefectural government's office.
The government made the decision due to the danger of a booster separated from an interceptor missile falling onto a residential area.
The governor criticized the central government for failing to detect earlier a danger that was "directly linked to residents' lives."
The Aegis Ashore deployment plan "has caused an unnecessary divide among local residents," said Kenji Fujimichi, mayor of the Yamaguchi city of Hagi, who also attended the meeting.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]