Japan not to join US global missile shield, says RussiaApril 11th, 2008 - 7:07 pm ICT by admin
Moscow, April 11 (RIA Novosti) Japan will not join the US global missile defence network in the near future despite close cooperation with the US on boosting its own missile defences, Russia’s top commander said Friday. “Japan is not planning to integrate its national missile shield into the US global missile network,” Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the general staff, said after talks with his Japanese counterpart Admiral Takashi Saito in Moscow.
Under a December 2004 missile defence cooperation arrangement with the US, Japan intends to build by 2011 a national missile-defence network comprising sea-and land-based components.
Japan’s determination to boost its missile defences was strengthened after North Korea conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in July 2006, and an underground nuclear test explosion three months later.
Japan’s Cabinet endorsed in December 2007 a review of emergency missile defence rules giving Self-Defence Forces (SDF) the discretion to fire missile interceptors without the premier’s go ahead.
The government also authorised the use of US SM-3 interceptor missiles as part of Japan’s two-layer missile shield.
The US sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles are designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles in mid-trajectory at altitudes up to 300 km, while land-based US Patriot PAC-3 systems, which will be deployed at four ground-to-air missile units, are expected to shoot down missiles before they hit the ground.
During a test-launch Dec 17 last year from the Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyer Kongou, an SM-3 interceptor shot down a simulated target over the Pacific near Hawaii.
However, Japan is opposed to the use of space-based elements in a global missile shield, which Washington is proposing.
The US plans to deploy elements of the missile shield in Central Europe are expected to cost $1.6 billion over the next five years. The programme will later be expanded to include sea-based missiles and missile tracking systems in space.
Washington insists that space-based systems would provide anti-missile protection, independent of geographic location, strategic warning or permission to deploy bases, and would make it possible to intercept ballistic missiles in mid-trajectory.