TOKYO -- With tensions mounting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan's Ministry of Defense and the country's Self-Defense Force on Saturday deployed Patriot Advanced Capability-3 surface-to-air missile systems at bases in four prefectures in western Japan, in preparation for a possible ballistic missile launch from Pyongyang.
North Korea has said plans for an attack on the U.S. territory of Guam will be complete by mid-August. With Japan lying directly under the flight path of such an attack, Tokyo has decided to deploy the Air Self-Defense Force's PAC-3 systems to safeguard against a missile hitting Japanese territory.
The missile interceptors were deployed at bases in Izumo, Shimane Prefecture, Kaita, Hiroshima Prefecture, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture and Konan, Kochi Prefecture. Vehicles carrying troops began arriving at the bases from the early hours of Saturday.
With a range of a few tens of kilometers, PAC-3 missile interceptors are designed to shoot down falling debris from a failed missile launch.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday in his hometown of Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in western Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to do his utmost to protect the country's people and property.