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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 10 - 16  > Aegis Ashore deployment plan should be abandoned altogether: JCP Kokuta
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2020 June 10 - 16 [POLITICS]

Aegis Ashore deployment plan should be abandoned altogether: JCP Kokuta

June 16, 2020

Defense Minister Kono Taro on June 15 held a press conference in the ministry office building and announced his decision to suspend the ministry’s plan to deploy Aegis Ashore ground-based anti-ballistic missile defense systems to Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures.

Explaining the reason for this decision, the minister said that a technical problem was detected in interceptor missiles and it will require considerable cost and time for repairs. On the other hand, he expressed his intent to use the facilities attached to the suspended deployment, such as interceptors and costly cutting-edge radar sets, on Self-Defense Forces’ Aegis-equipped vessels.

The problem which the minister cited is that unlike the government explanation, the rocket booster of an interceptor missile may not fall within an SDF training area chosen as a candidate site for the deployment in Yamaguchi or in the sea area off the coast of Akita.

Professor Emeritus at Yamaguchi University Masuyama Hiroyuki, who heads a local scientists’ group opposing the Aegis Ashore deployment to Yamaguchi, pointed out, “In our protest against the deployment, we repeatedly took up this issue. Citizens living near the candidate site have also expressed concern regarding a possible drop of rocket boosters from interceptors onto residential areas.” Masuyama said, “What the Defense Minister decided was just the suspension of the deployment. We need to continue our fight until the deployment plan is cancelled.”

Commenting on Defense Minister Kono’s announcement, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Kokuta Keiji urged the government to completely abandon its plan to deploy Aegis Ashore batteries to Japan.

Kokuta in his comment said that the party has long demanded the cancellation of the plan in the Diet and has been working together with people living near candidate sites who voiced their anger and concerns.

The JCP lawmaker said that as the government decided to halt the Aegis system deployment project, it should use the budget for this project to relieve people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Past related articles:
> Local residents angry over false data concerning Aegis Ashore deployment plan [June 6 and 9, 2019]
> Defense Minister faces resistance from governors of candidate prefectures for Aegis Ashore deployment [June 23, 2018]
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