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Gov't to probe Aegis Ashore missile defense radar impact in would-be hosts

TOKYO -- The government is set to conduct a survey on the effects of powerful electromagnetic waves emitted by radars on the Aegis Ashore land-based ballistic missile interceptor system in areas listed as candidate sites for hosting the defense equipment.

The survey will cover the city of Akita in northern Japan and the city of Hagi and the town of Abu in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan for possible completion by the end of this fiscal year ending March. The move comes in response to requests from local governments and residents that are concerned about impacts of the defense system on their bodies and daily lives.

The Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe approved the introduction of two Aegis Ashore systems in December 2017 with the aim of countering ballistic missile attacks by North Korea. In May 2018, then Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera announced Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures as candidate sites for hosting the equipment.

The government is seeking to install the defense system to the Ground Self-Defense Force's Araya Maneuver Area in the city of Akita and the Mutsumi Maneuver Area straddling Hagi and Abu in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Government officials have been briefing local municipalities and residents to make them accept the planned deployments. However, concerns have been raised about the possibility that the electromagnetic radar waves from Aegis Ashore facilities will adversely affect human health, communications equipment and television broadcasts.

(Japanese original by Noriaki Kinoshita, Political News Department)

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