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Japan fails to convince Russia it will deploy US Aegis Ashore missiles only for defense

Japan plans to deploy two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in the Yamaguchi Prefecture in the southwest of the main island of Honshu and in the Akita Prefecture by 2023, although the local authorities have not yet given their consent to this

TOKYO, January 10. /TASS/. Japan has failed to convince Russia that it intends to deploy US Aegis Ashore missile systems on its territory solely for defensive purposes, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said after talks with his Japanese counterpart Takeo Mori on Friday.

Both diplomats held their meeting as part of the 11th round of the Russia-Japan strategic dialogue.

"We have heard the Japanese side’s previous position and this position does not convince us. We don’t believe that the deployment of these systems will serve solely the task of Japan’s defense against hypothetical strikes from North Korea. In these systems we see certain potential that may adversely affect the Russian strategic containment arsenal," the high-ranking Russian diplomat said, replying to a question from TASS.

Japan plans to deploy two Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in the Yamaguchi Prefecture in the southwest of the country’s main island of Honshu and in the Akita Prefecture in its north by 2023, although the local authorities have not yet given their consent to this deployment. They have numerously voiced their apprehensions that the missile launching systems with their powerful radars may be hazardous for the health of local residents.

Tokyo wants the missile defense systems to shield actually the country’s entire territory from ballistic missile strikes.

Tokyo estimated the expenditures on the acquisition of two US Aegis Ashore missile systems at 268 billion yen (almost $2.5 billion). However, Japan’s Defense Ministry believes that real spending may prove to be higher.

Russia has numerously voiced its concern over risks that will be created for its security due to Japan’s plans to deploy elements of the US missile shield on its territory.