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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 June 19 - 25  > Is Aegis Ashore anti-missile system deployment truly for Japan’s security?
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2019 June 19 - 25 [POLITICS]
column 

Is Aegis Ashore anti-missile system deployment truly for Japan’s security?

June 19, 2019

Akahata ‘current’ column

The Defense Ministry has designated the Self-Defense Force Araya training field in Akita in northeastern Japan and the SDF Mutsumi training field in Yamaguchi in southwestern Japan as “suitable sites” for deploying the “Aegis Ashore” ground-based missile defense systems. The ministry recently submitted to local governments in Akita a report regarding the deployment designation of the Araya field. However, soon after the submission, the report was found to contain false data and untrue statements, which aroused the anger of local residents.

The report rejected several candidate sites as unsuitable for the deployment by claiming that nearby mountains are too high and block the Aegis Ashore radar scanning ability. This assessment was found to be wrong. It was based on incorrect data regarding the height of the mountains. The report stated that the Araya site is free from tsunami risks, but later the Defense Ministry admitted that the implementation of anti-tsunami measures will be necessary before installing the missile defense system. The ministry held a briefing session for local residents to explain the report after the revelation of false data. However, the meeting only fueled residents’ anger as one of ministry officials dozed off during the session. The ministry claims that it will thoroughly investigate into the matter, implement necessary countermeasures, and provide information to residents, but no one took the ministry’s claims seriously.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and successive Defense Ministers have insisted that the deployment of the Aegis Ashore systems to Akita and Yamaguchi is essential for Japan’s security. However, many military experts as well as U.S. government sources point out that the deployment plan is in reality more about the defense of the U.S.

Akahata on June 18 carried a map annotated by a former Akita University teacher on the front page. The map showed that Akita is right on the straight line drawn between North Korea’s alleged missile base and Hawaii and that Yamaguchi is on a straight line between the North Korean missile base and Guam. This strongly suggests that the reason why the Defense Ministry intends to deploy the Aegis Ashore system to Akita and Yamaguchi is because they are the most suitable places for defending U.S. bases in Hawaii and Guam from missile attacks.

The Aegis Ashore system costs hundreds of billions of yen to set up, but there is no guarantee that these systems will succeed in intercepting all hostile missiles without fail. A military buildup will not create peace or ensure Japan’s security.

Past related articles:
> Local residents angry over false data concerning Aegis Ashore deployment plan [June 6 and 9, 2019]
> Abe gov’t should give up on deploying Aegis Ashore system to Japan [August 2, 2018]
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