October 9, 2019
Tokyo--Japan's Air Self-Defense Force carried out a quick deployment drill for its Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, missile interceptors in Tokyo on Wednesday, in order to fully prepare for missile defense operations.
The drill, held at the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park, followed a series of ballistic missile firings by North Korea. On Oct. 2, a submarine-launched North Korean ballistic missile fell into waters in Japan's exclusive economic zone.
Defense Minister Taro Kono, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike and other officials inspected the exercise.
Under Japan's current two-tier missile defense system, interceptors installed on Aegis destroyers shoot down missiles in outer space, while ground-based PAC-3 batteries are used to intercept missiles at altitudes of over 10 kilometers in case the Aegis system fails to destroy them.
The drill was attended by a 30-strong unit of the ASDF's 1st Air Defense Missile Group stationed in the city of Tsuchiura in Ibaraki Prefecture, eastern Japan, along with 15 vehicles. Members of the unit confirmed procedures such as for setting up radars and interceptor launchers.
"We always need to mobilize (the missile defense system) swiftly at any place," Takasuke Maeda, captain of the unit, who directed the exercise, told reporters.
The drill for PAC-3 in an urban area was the first since one held at the Expo '70 Commemorative Park in the city of Suita in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, in 2013.
In Tokyo, such drill was held at Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in Shinjuku Ward in 2010 and at the Kasai Rinkai Park in Edogawa Ward in 2012. Jiji Press
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