Japan to deploy missile interceptors against any N. Korea threat

The Japanese government plans to boost its deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor missiles at air bases across Japan to counter the threat of North Koreas ballistic missiles under new defense policy guidelines to be approved later this month, officials said Friday.A draft appendix to the guidelines to be updated as early as next week covering the five years from April 2011 also stipulates equipping all six Aegis destroyers with Standard Missile-3 interceptors while cutting tanks and artillery by about 200 each to 400, the government and Self-Defense Forces officials said.Along with a plan to increase the number of submarines from 16 to 22 for enhanced vigilance around the Nansei chain of islands in the southwest centering on Okinawa, the planned defense posture is apparently aimed at dealing with North Korea and deterring China.The move comes amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula following North Koreas artillery attack on a South Korean island last month, and Chinas rapid military buildup and increasing naval activity.The PAC-3 missile system, which is designed to shoot down an incoming missile from the ground before it lands, will be deployed to all six of the Air Self-Defense Forces air defense missile groups from three at present, according to the officials.The three groups are located at Iruma base in Saitama Prefecture, which covers the Tokyo metropolitan area, Kasuga base in Fukuoka Prefecture, which is responsible for security in the southwestern Kyushu region, and Gifu base aimed at defending Nagoya in central Japan and Osaka in western Japan.

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