North Korea threats: Japan deploys Patriot missiles
Tokyo: Pre-empting North Korean attack risk in wake of the heightened tension over Korean peninsula, Japan has deployed Patriot missiles near capital Tokyo, officials said Tuesday.
After reports of the US and South Korea warning about a possible provocative act by Pyongyang, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that patriot missile batteries were stationed at three sites around Tokyo, the CNN reported.
Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missiles were set up in the central district of Ichigaya and in the suburbs of Asaka and Narashino.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday morning that "utmost efforts" were on to protect Japanese citizens and ensure their safety against any North Korean aggression.
Japan's armed forces are authorised to shoot down any North Korean missile headed towards its territory, a defence ministry spokesman said Monday.
The US and South Korea yesterday warned that North Korea could go ahead with a fourth nuclear test soon.
In addition to the PAC-3s, Aegis destroyers equipped with sea-based interceptor missiles have been deployed in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the defence official said.
Enraged over joint US-South Korea drills and UN sanctions over its Feb 12 nuke test, North Korea has continued dishing out bellicose threats day by day, and matching the rhetoric with hostile acts like banning a joint industrial zone
North Korea's bellicose rhetoric has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, with near-daily threats of attacks on US military bases including in Japan and South Korea in response to ongoing South Korea-US military exercises.
Intelligence reports suggest Pyongyang has readied two mid-range missiles on mobile launchers on its east coast and plans a test-firing before the April 15 birthday of late founding leader Kim Il-Sung.