Japan eyes nationwide missile interceptors: report

TOKYO Fri Dec 10, 2010 11:56pm EST

Related Topics

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan may deploy Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles at air bases nationwide, Kyodo news said on Saturday, as part of a new five-year defense plan to be released later this month.

The Japanese Self-Defense Forces also plan to increase the number of submarines patrolling the seas off Okinawa in southern Japan, where is it locked in a territorial dispute with China.

The move to deploy missile interceptors comes amid heightened regional tensions following North Korea's deadly artillery shelling of the South last month.

The PAC-3 missile system is designed to shoot down an incoming missile from the ground before it lands. It will be deployed on ships as well as air bases, Kyodo cited government and defense officials as saying.

Japan will announce the National Defense Program Guideline (NDPG) covering the period from fiscal 2011/2012 starting in April laying out defense priorities. It will be the first review in six years and also the first under the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) government, which swept to power last year.

Kyodo said the new defense policy guidelines also include a plan to increase the number of submarines from 16 to 22 to beef up vigilance on islands around Okinawa.

Vice Defense Minister Jun Azumi told Reuters in an interview this week that Japan should improve its defense capability in the southwest where it shares a maritime border with China, adding Beijing's military buildup has increased regional instability.

"Our attention was on the north during the Cold War. But we have to shift our focus to the defense of southwest ... The most important step to strengthen our defense over the next 10 years is to secure the mobility (of our troops)," Azumi said in the interview.

Sino-Japanese relations deteriorated sharply after September, when Japan detained a Chinese trawler captain whose boat collided with Japanese patrol ships near a chain of disputed islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

(Reporting by Chikako Mogi; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
BubbaTheGreat wrote:
Won’t work for sub launch missiles close to shore sorry, Japs

Dec 11, 2010 12:27am EST  --  Report as abuse
Looks like China and North Korea, along with Iran are causing regional instability and it sparking a new arms race. They are all playing a game of international chicken. Makes you wonder which one will trip and shoot themselves in the foot triggering WWIII. China is one scary country with it’s paranoid psycho leaders and their communist totalitarian government.

Dec 11, 2010 1:06am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.