In connection with the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Mutsumi training area (straddling Hagi City and Abu Town in Yamaguchi Prefecture) being selected as a candidate site for the deployment of Aegis Ashore systems, Abu Mayor Norihiko Hanada told reporters in Yamaguchi City on June 28: “At this point, we are unable to approve of the plan.” He indicated that he will visit the Defense Ministry shortly to convey his view to Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera.
Hanada pointed out that interceptor missiles fired from the Mutsumi training area will fly over Abu because the town is located on the Sea of Japan side of the country. “This poses the risk of exposing the local residents to danger, so we will have to oppose the plan unless the interceptor missiles are proven to be safe.”
The Defense Ministry held briefings for the residents of Abu and Akita City, another candidate site, this month. Onodera visited Yamaguchi and Akita Prefectures on June 22 to seek the understanding of the governors and local officials for the deployment of Aegis Ashore.