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TOKYO, February 2. /TASS/. Japan has placed on alert its ground-based complexes and ships with missile defense systems in case of a possible long-range ballistic missile launch by North Korea (DPRK), Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said at a news conference on Tuesday after a government meeting.
He said that the Patriot PAC-3 latest missile defense systems have been deployed, in particular, in Tokyo's Ichigaya district, at the Asaka and Narashino military bases in the north and northeast suburbs of the Japanese capital.
North Korea has not informed international bodies of the time of the launch of its missile or of the possible places of fall of its components, he said. It is even not clear whether the launch will be carried out at all. In such circumstances it would be expedient no longer to disclose information about Japan’s actions, including the deployment of the ships with the Aegis system of targeting and interception. According to previous reports, at least one destroyer capable of shooting down ballistic missiles in space has been moved from the naval base at Yokosuka outside Tokyo to the open sea.
In a separate press conference, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Tuesday that consultations were underway with the United States and South Korea on the possible DPRK missile launch. According to satellite intelligence data, a launch pad with the height of 70 meters has been built in the north of DPRK at a missile range in the northern part of the Yellow Sea (Sea of Japan) coast. A powerful intercontinental missile is expected to be launched from that pad within a few weeks.
Meanwhile, a Japanese government source said Monday that Japan was making preparations to intercept North Korean ballistic missiles by deploying interceptors on sea and land while using diplomacy to try to defuse the situation, according to the Kyodo news agency.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung Se held a telephone conversation Monday in which they agreed to strengthen cooperation between their two countries and the United Sates following recent signs that North Korea is preparing to test launch a long-range ballistic missile, the agency reported.
The Defense Ministry has deployed the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers equipped with the Standard Missile-3 interceptor system in the Sea of Japan and surrounding waters, the source said. On land, 34 ground-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors have been put on standby, according to the source. If UN early warning satellites or X-band radars detect an incoming North Korean missile, the SM-3 system would try to intercept it while in flight. And if the first attempt failed, the PAC-3 would try to shoot it down on its approach to Japan.
Japan hopes the UN Security Council adopts a resolution to impose sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang's fourth nuclear test on January 6, government officials said.
The US has announced plans to reject the deployment of the fourth stage of the missile defense system in Europe and to refocus towards protection against potential North Korea missile attacks. Infographics by TASS