Japan deploys missile defence over N Korea threat to Guam

Tourists enjoying themselves along the Tumon beach on the island of Guam in the Pacific

Tourists enjoying themselves along the Tumon beach on the island of Guam in the Pacific

The Defence Ministry said on Friday it was deploying four surface-to-air Patriot interceptors in western Japan to respond to a possible risk of fragments falling from missiles.

The Japanese government said the action was taken to prepare for the possibility that, should North Korea fire the missiles, they fail as they cross over Japan.

The PAC-3 deployment is created to prepare for a contingency if any North Korean missiles malfunction and come down over Japan for technological or other reasons.

Tokyo is considering deploying four PAC-3 missile interceptors to shoot down any North Korean missiles that stray into Japanese territory while flying over the country on their way to the US Territory of Guam, according to government sources.

Japan's missile defense program includes the Maritime Self-Defense Force's (SDF) Aegis destroyers, aimed at shooting down airborne missiles, and the Air Self-Defense Force's PAC-3 system, which is aimed at countering missiles that evade Aegis interceptors.

Tokyo has deployed Aegis ships in the Sea of Japan, and is on alert 24 hours sharing information with the United States.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also renewed his pledge Saturday morning to prevent any accidents related to the North's warned launch.

At the time North Korea said it was launching a telecommunications satellite, but Washington, Seoul and Tokyo believed Pyongyang was testing an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The White House said in a statement that the two leaders "agreed North Korea must stop provocative and escalatory behavior" and that they are both committed to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

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