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Japan dismisses Russia’s concerns, says it has full control of its missile systems

January 16, 9:17 UTC+3 TOKYO

The Russian top diplomat earlier voiced concerns that the US will have access to the Aegis Ashore missile system

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Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System

Aegis Ashore Missile Defense System

© EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT

TOKYO, January 16. /TASS/. Japan’s missile systems are purely defensive and controlled by its specialists and do not pose any threat to the neighboring states, including Russia, a spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry told TASS on Tuesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday voiced concerns that the US will have access to controlling the Aegis Ashore missile system after its deployment to Japan. Moscow seeks dialogue between the secretaries of the Russian and Japanese security councils to produce more convincing proof, he stressed.

"The country’s missile systems are aimed at protecting people’s lives and property and are purely defensive," the Japanese diplomat said. "Our country independently controls them, and they do not pose any threat to the neighboring states, including Russia. This was clarified to the Russian side at the foreign ministers’ meeting in November last year," he said.

The diplomat said Japan plans to hold talks with Russia to solve the long-running dispute over the Southern Kuril Islands and sign a peace treaty.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters earlier on Tuesday the Aegis Ashore system is exclusively aimed at protecting the country from ballistic missiles.

In December 2017, the Japanese government approved the decision to host two Aegis Ashore systems. They are to be stationed at test sites of Japan’s self-defense force in the northern prefecture Akita and southeastern prefecture Yamaguchi by 2023 or earlier. For the Aegis Ashore systems Tokyo plans to purchase four SM-3 Block 2A missiles with a range of flight of up to 1,000 kilometers.

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