Deployment of American ABMs in Japan poses no threat to Russia — Japanese defense chief

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Deployment of American ABMs in Japan poses no threat to Russia — Japanese defense chief
Deployment of American ABMs in Japan poses no threat to Russia — Japanese defense chief

Maritime Self-Defense Force's AEGIS destroyer DDG-174 Kirishima at Yokosuka base in Yokosuka, near Tokyo

© AP Photo/Junji Kurokawa

TOKYO, November 24. /TASS/. The deployment of US antimissile defense system on the territory of Japan does not pose a threat to Russia and other neighboring countries, Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told a press conference on Friday.

"This is a security system designed to protect the lives and property of our citizens, it does not pose a threat to neighboring countries, including Russia," he said.

He was commenting on the statement Russia’s Foreign Ministry made ahead of the talks between foreign ministers of the two countries - Sergei Lavrov and Taro Kono - on Friday.

The ministry noted that the meeting in particular will address the issue of deployment of US anti-missile systems in the Asia-Pacific region. During the recent visit of US President Donald Trump to Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that his country intends to buy more weapons from the US amid the worsening situation in the region due to the activities of North Korea.

"Once again, we will draw attention of Japanese colleagues to the danger of deployment," the Russian ministry stressed.

Japan relies on a two-layered system in its missile defenses. Four Congo-class and two Atago-class destroyers are equipped with Aegis SM-3 missiles, designed to engage missile in the mid-course phase. If this system fails, three battalions of land-based Patriot missiles will intercept missiles during the terminal phase.

In the near future, Japan also expects to purchase land-based Aegis Ashore missile systems from the US (Aegis Ashore). According to experts, two such systems, each worth about 80 billion yen (about $728 mln), are enough to protect the entire territory of Japan from a possible missile attack or a ballistic missile. It is assumed that they can be located in the prefectures of Akita and Yamaguchi from the side of the Sea of Japan.

Aegis Ashore is a land-based missile defense system that is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles above the atmosphere during the midcourse phase of a hostile ballistic missile's flight. It is the sea-based component of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (Aegis BMD).

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