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International relations

Japan withdraws Patriot missiles as North Korea tensions cool

Threat level has fallen in wake of Trump-Kim summit

A PAC-3 unit at the Ministry of Defense headquarters in Tokyo. The ministry is withdrawing PAC-3 batteries from five prefectures.   © Photo by Yoshiyuki Tamai

TOKYO -- The sustained lull in North Korean missile launches this year prompted Japanese defense officials on Monday to start withdrawing ballistic missile interceptors deployed in 2017.

Japan's Ministry of Defense is removing Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, missile interceptors from five prefectures and returning the systems to Air Self-Defense Force bases. Officials believe the current situation no longer justifies the deployment of the surface-to-air missiles.

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