Russia says U.S. missile system in Japan could be used for attacks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia January 15, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned on Monday that a U.S.-made Aegis missile-defense system that Japan has decided to acquire could be used for offensive purposes because its missile launching system is dual-purpose.

Japan last month formally decided it would expand its ballistic missile defense system with U.S.-made ground-based Aegis radar stations and interceptors in response to a growing threat from North Korean rockets.

Lavrov, speaking at his annual news conference in Moscow, said Russia doubted assertions that the United States would not be involved in the system’s operational control and said its deployment would cast a shadow over Moscow’s ties with Tokyo.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Andrew Osborn; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Andrew Osborn