Tokyo: Senior officials of the coalition
parties approved on Tuesday a plan to put on hold additional
deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptors for
missile defense in fiscal 2010.
This will be followed by a government decision on whether
to include its PAC-3 policy in an appendix of a new basic
defense guideline scheduled to be compiled by later October,
government sources said, adding that actual deployment will
take place in fiscal 2011 or later.
The plan to deploy additional surface-to-air PAC-3
interceptors was abandoned after some Cabinet ministers,
including Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada and the ruling
coalition Social Democratic Party, indicated their reluctance
to pursue it, they said.
The Defense Ministry has requested 94.4 billion yen in
the fiscal 2010 budget for deploying PAC-3s at three Air
Self-Defense Force bases in Hokkaido, Aomori and Okinawa
prefectures over five years from that fiscal year.
But some Cabinet ministers have opposed the plan, saying
the issue of deployment should be decided on when the new
defense guideline is being compiled, they said.
The PAC-3 system constitutes the lower part of Japan`s
two-layer ballistic missile shield, which is designed to shoot
down missiles in their terminal phase if the sea-launched
Standard Missile-3 interceptor fails to intercept them outside