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Japan prepares to shoot down N. Korean missiles

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Japan prepares to shoot down N. Korean missiles

/ 07:29 AM August 13, 2017

PAC-3 surface-to-air missile interceptors are deployed at the grounds of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces Kaita base in the town of Kaita, Hiroshima prefecture on August 12, 2017.
Japan deployed its Patriot missile defence system on August 12 after North Korea threatened to fire ballistic missiles over the country towards the US Pacific territory of Guam, local officials and news reports said. AFP

TOKYO — Japan deployed its Patriot missile defense system on Saturday after North Korea threatened to fire ballistic missiles over the country at the US Pacific territory of Guam, local officials and reports said.

Regional tensions mounted as Washington and Pyongyang ratcheted up their war of words, with President Donald Trump warning Pyongyang would “truly regret” any hostile action against the US.

Japan has in the past vowed to shoot down North Korean missiles or rockets that threatened to hit its territory.

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The defense ministry deployed the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system in Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi in western Japan, which North Korea had warned could be along its missiles’ flight path, public broadcaster NHK and Kyodo News said.

It also deployed the antimissile system in neighboring Ehime, according to the reports, while the Asahi Shimbun said one maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyer was stationed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to shoot down airborne missiles.

Securing Japan

TV footage showed military vehicles carrying launchers and other equipment for the surface-to-air system entering a Japanese base in Kochi before dawn.

Immediate confirmation from the defense ministry was not available but an official at the crisis management office of the Kochi prefectural government said the PAC-3 had been deployed.

“While standing by 24 hours in preparation for a launch, we are calling on our residents to be on alert in case we issue emergency information,” Makoto Ebuchi added.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief government spokesperson, said earlier this week that Tokyo “can never tolerate” provocation from North Korea and the country’s military will “take necessary measures” to protect itself. —AFP

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TAGS: Donald Trumps, North Korean missile crisis, North Korean-Japan relations
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