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Japan Expands Missile Defenses to Curb North Korea Threat

Japan Expands Missile Defenses to Curb North Korea ThreatJapan Expands Missile Defenses to Curb North Korea Threat

The Japanese government on Tuesday approved plans to expand its ballistic missile defense system with a ground-based Aegis Ashore system made by the US in a bid to curb the threat posed by North Korea’s latest developments in military technology.

“North Korea’s nuclear and missile development has become a greater and more imminent threat for Japan’s national security,” said a government statement. “We need to drastically improve our ballistic missile defense capability to protect Japan continuously and sustainably,” DW reported.

In November, North Korea launched a new ballistic missile that reached an altitude of more than 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles), exceeding the range of Japanese interceptor missiles operating in the Sea of Japan.

Many Japanese citizens have expressed concern that changing Japan’s pacifist policy could drag the country into international conflicts, with mass protests opposing changes to its post-World War II pledge to renounce war.

However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has argued that a more active military helps preserve the peace amid an increased threat from North Korea and China’s growing status as a global power.

After the cabinet meeting, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera sought to alleviate such concerns, saying the sole purpose of the missile defense system is to bolster the country’s defenses against an attack from Pyongyang.

“North Korea’s nuclear missile development poses a new level of threat to Japan and, as we have done in the past, we will ensure that we are able to defend ourselves with a drastic improvement in ballistic missile defense,” Onodera.

 

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