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SECURITY > Self-Defense Forces

MOD deploys PAC-3 for first time since July 2018

  • October 12, 2019
  • , Nikkei , p. 4
  • JMH Translation

By Rieko Miki


The Ministry of Defense has deployed two Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile interceptors on its premises in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district as of Oct. 11. It deployed the missile interceptors to various regions of Japan in 2017, when North Korea was repeatedly launching ballistic missiles, but removed them in July 2018. The latest PAC-3 deployment was prompted by the North, which has been engaging in provocative actions, including repeatedly firing new short-range ballistic missiles, since May this year.


Japan has been taking a two-phased approach to missile interception using a sea-based interceptor missile carried by an Aegis destroyer and the PAC-3. The PAC-3 plays the role of shooting down ballistic missiles that have re-entered the atmosphere right before they land.


In August 2017, when North Korea repeatedly fired intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), the MOD deployed the PAC-3 to four prefectures — Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime, and Kochi — in addition to the MOD premises in the capital, and the systems were put on constant alert.


After the U.S. and North Korea held a summit meeting in 2018, however, Pyongyang temporarily stopped firing missiles. As a result. the Japanese government reduced its preparedness to intercept missiles in order to support the U.S.’s policy of pursuing dialogue with the North.


Since May this year, however, Pyongyang has gone back to repeatedly firing missiles. It also launched a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) on Oct. 2, which fell inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), prompting calls from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to redeploy the PAC-3.


The government is feeling a growing sense of crisis over the North’s firing of ballistic missiles. It will consider further strengthening countermeasures, such as expanding PAC-3 deployment and deploying an Aegis destroyer, if Pyongyang steps up its provocations.


Preparedness to intercept missiles by PAC-3


PAC-3 permanently deployed to MOD’s premise in Tokyo’s Ichigaya district.

August 2017

PAC-3 deployed to Shimane, Hiroshima, Ehime, and Kochi Prefectures.

September 2017

PAC-3 deployed to Hakodate City, Hokkaido.

July 2018

All PAC-3 removed following U.S.-DPRK summit.

October 2019

PAC-3 redeployed to MOD’s premises.


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