(National Sentinel) War Clouds: Japan has deployed missile interceptors in waters along the anticipated flight path of missiles fired by North Korea, in response to Pyongyang’s recent launches of ICBM’s that have flown over Japanese territory.
As reported by The Associated Press, defense officials in Tokyo said a U.S.-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit has been deployed at the Hakodate base in the southern sector of Hokkaido island, which is Japan’s largest northernmost island.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the PAC-3 deployment was being taken “as a precaution,” as Tokyo makes preparations to better defend itself against potential North Korean aggression.
The AP noted further:
The relocation came after a North Korean missile was test-fired last week and flew over southern Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific off the island’s east coast – the second flyover in less than a month.
The PAC-3 was brought from another base in Yakumo town on Hokkaido, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Hakodate. The system has a range of about 20 kilometers (12 miles).
Japan has 34 PAC-3 missile defense units. Four more of the units, which are mostly deployed to protect the capital, were recently moved to southwestern Japan, after Pyongyang warned it would launch missiles at the U.S. territory of Guam, home to Andersen Air Force Base and a large contingent of U.S. forces.
The PAC-3’s are part of a two-tier missile defense system deployed by Japan. The first layer is based aboard Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyers, which protect the country from the sea. Should that layer fail, Tokyo would then rely on the PAC-3 systems.
North Korea continues to threaten the U.S. and its neighbors, most notably Japan and South Korea, with nuclear strikes. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has not ruled out the use of preemptive military force again North Korea if the threat rises to what the White House deems an unacceptable level.
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