Saturday, October 13, 2007

Missiles hi tech battle in northern Asia

Nobody wants to get this one in his Japanese garden. So, how to screen any incoming missile on the northern coast? Here is the added defense jewel. After the big station, little ones. Still some Japanese seem or pretend to be unsatisfied in spite of the US Japan military alliance. Details on quotes, local press & agencies:

"US forces deployed a mobile missile-tracking station in Japan for the first time Friday, officials said, as part of efforts to defend against a potential attack from North Korea. The Joint Tactical Ground Station was being set up at the Misawa base in Aomori, the northernmost prefecture of Japan's most populous island of Honshu. But local authorities and media had criticised the deployment, saying they were not sufficiently informed. "The US military might not be able to disclose military secrets. However, we should not just let it be," the local To-o Nippo newspaper said in an editorial before the deployment. "The mayor must press the US military and the (Japanese) government to give us detailed explanation."

The mobile missile-tracking system is designed to receive launch data from early warning satellites, analyze the projected destination of missiles and forward the information to the U.S. military and Japan's Defense Ministry.

It is the first time the US military has deployed the mobile unit in Japan, although one is already in South Korea, said Yutaka Shirasawa, an official at Japan's defence ministry. The system consists of a vehicle equipped with three satellite antennas and information-processing equipment, which is meant to send news of any incoming missile to the US military and Japanese defence ministry.

It will be operated by 18 US servicepeople from an army base in the western US state of Colorado, Shirasawa said, adding the local government was informed of the deployment Thursday. Tokyo and Washington launched work on a missile defence shield for Japan after North Korea shocked the world in 1998 by firing a long-range missile over Japan into the Pacific Ocean. In March, Japan for the first time installed Patriot surface-to-air missile interceptors in the Tokyo area.

Japan will conduct its first missile test in mid-December, from an Aegis-radar equipped destroyer off Hawaii, "to confirm its ballistic missile defense capability," the Defense Ministry said separately in a statement.

Japan deployed its first advanced U.S.-developed Patriot missiles earlier this year, and plans to introduce SM-3 interceptors on its destroyers in the next few years, including one in December. The two countries held a regional ballistic missile defense drill in July. Another round of exercises is scheduled for November, followed by a test launch of the U.S.-developed SM-3 missile interceptor from Japan's Aegis-class destroyer Kongo during the week of Dec. 17 off a Hawaiian island of Kauai, the ministry said.

The United States last year installed Japan's first anti-missile system on the southern island of Okinawa, the hub of the 40,000 US troops in Japan."

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