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US may build missile defense system in Japan
Updated: 2004-04-05 14:18

The United States is reaching Japan over the deployment of a land-based missile defense system before Tokyo has built its own by the end of fiscal 2007, the leading Yomiuri Shimbun reported Monday.

Japan formally decided last year to deploy a dual-level missile defense system which consists of the land-based PAC-3 and ship- based SM-3 systems, both introduced from the United States. The project is expected to cost billions of U.S. dollars.

Washington believes that the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system would benefit Japan because it also would protect the Tokyo metropolitan area during the intervening period, the newspaper said.

Washington planned to make its defense system come into play by the end of 2005. A U.S. source was quoted by the paper as saying that if Japan requests, "there would be no reason for the United States to refuse."

Japan initiated the missile defense system process after 1998 when the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched what it claimed a rocket. Tokyo claimed it was a ballistic missile.

The PAC-3 developed from PAC-2 that Japan currently possesses is able to intercept ballistic missiles which have reentered the atmosphere, while the SM-3 has a longer range to punch the target outside the atmosphere.

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