|CGI of an Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System|
By: Mike Yeo
MELBOURNE, Australia ― Japan is evaluating locations to base the Aegis Ashore land-based ballistic missile defense system of which it has expressed interest in acquiring to better defend against North Korean ballistic missiles.
According to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, which quoted Japanese Defense Ministry sources, Japan is looking at placing the Aegis Ashore on two sites along the country’s western coast to give complete coverage against North Korean ballistic missiles.
The newspaper reported that the sites under consideration for the northern system are either the Kamo sub-base in Oga, Akita prefecture, and the Sado sub-base in Sado, Niigata prefecture; for the system covering the southern part of Japan, either the Unishima sub-base in Tsushima or the Fukuejima sub-base in Goto, both in Nagasaki prefecture.
These sites are all part of Japan’s current early-warning and ballistic missile-defense radar network operated by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, operating a mixture of J/FPS-3, J/FPS-5 and other older radars.
The Asahi Shimbun reported that Japan plans to have its Aegis Ashore systems operational by 2023, although this could be pushed forward if the regional security changes. The newspaper quoted Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera as saying that “we want to introduce the system at the earliest possible schedule”.
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