TOKYO -- Movable offshore missile platforms are expected to replace the scrapped Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense systems previously set for installation in Yamaguchi and Akita prefectures, according to an announcement by Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi at a Sept. 24 joint meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party's National Defense Division and Research Commission on National Security.
Building a new vessel specialized in intercepting ballistic missiles, or using craft similar to sea oil rigs is envisaged under the new plan. Both types will be movable, and unlike the Aegis Ashore system that would have been built on land, there is no risk of the launched missiles' propulsion equipment falling onto inhabited areas, meaning that understanding from residents to use the system is not required.
Technology such as SPY-7 radar systems and launch equipment previously earmarked for the land-based version of the defense plan will be built into the new sea-based version, but issues remain over cost increases and the system being easily affected by weather conditions.
The government intends to narrow down replacement plans and make a final decision in time for the initial budget for the next financial year, due at the end of December.
(Japanese original by Shu Hatakeyama, Political News Department)