TOKYO (AP) – Japan installed the final piece of a missile defense system for Tokyo on Saturday, a day after North Korea test-fired a barrage of missiles.
Air Self-Defense Forces personnel set up a land-based Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile intercepter system at the Kasumigaura base in Ibaraki prefecture (state), just northeast of Tokyo, regional defense official Keisuke Tanaka said.
It is the last of four PAC-3 sets deployed around Tokyo to protect the capital region, Tanaka said. The system at the Kasumigaura base, 47 miles northeast of Tokyo, includes five launchers, a special vehicle equipped with radar and another that serves as a control station, he said.
PAC-3 systems were previously installed at three other bases near Tokyo, including Japan’s largest naval base in Yokosuka, the homeport of the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
Japan has been rapidly augmenting its missile defense capabilities amid concerns over possible threats from North Korea. The latest deployment, which was planned months ago, came a day after the North test-fired a barrage of missiles in an apparent angry response to the new South Korean government’s tougher stance toward Pyongyang.
Japan plans to deploy the PAC-3 defense system at several more bases across the country by March 2011.