Japan confirms scrapping US missile defence system
Tokyo: Japan has scrapped the deployment of a multibillion-dollar US anti-missile system, the government confirmed Thursday, days after saying the programme had been suspended. Interceptors for the Aegis Ashore system were to be placed in two regions under the costly and controversial programme.
But the government reversed course under pressure from local residents concerned about the risks posed by a missile defence system in their backyard.
"The National Security Council discussed this matter and reached a conclusion that the deployment of Aegis Ashore in Akita and Yamaguchi is to be rescinded," Defence Minister Taro Kono told a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
"I want to deeply apologise that it has come to this."
The government had originally guaranteed that interceptor missile gear would not land in residential areas near where the system was based. But last week, when initially announcing that deployment of the system had been suspended, Kano said maintaining that promise would require a costly and time-consuming hardware upgrade.
The Aegis Ashore system, the purchase of which was approved in 2017, was estimated to cost Japan $4.2 billion over three decades. - AFP