Japan Halts Deployment of Aegis Ashore Missile Defence System

Japan has suspended plans to deploy two U.S.-made Aegis Ashore air defence radar stations, Reuters reported citing Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono.

The Aegis Ashore air defence radar stations are designed to detect and counter North Korean ballistic missiles. They are the shore-based variant of the Aegis combat system deployed on U.S. and Allied naval vessels, including some vessels of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).

“I made a decision on Friday to suspend the process… For the time being, Japan will continue to counter (the threat) with Aegis-equipped ships” said Kono.

According to the report, the halting is due to technical issues as well as cost. The two proposed radar sites, one in the northern prefecture of Akita and the other in Yamaguchi prefecture in southern Japan, had also faced opposition from local residents.

The two planned Aegis Ashore systems would cost about 439 billion yen ($4.1 billion) for operation and maintenance for the next 30 years, according to defence ministry documents.

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