Thursday, January 17, 2008

Japan May Protect G8 Site with Missiles

Weapons of Mass Destruction. All in the name of security.

Japan may position missile interceptors around the site of the Group of Eight summit of industrialized nations, to be held on the northern island of Hokkaido in July, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

Japan introduced its first Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) ground-to-air missile interceptors at the Iruma air base north of Tokyo last March, as part of a shield aimed at protecting the country from ballistic missile attack.

But the interceptors have a range of about 20 km, so they would need to be positioned closer to the summit venue at Lake Toyako in order to provide protection during the conference. The G8 summit brings together the leaders of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Russia as well as Japan.

The Sankei Shimbun quoted a Defense Ministry official as saying that although the chances of a ballistic missile attack on the venue are extremely low, Japan wants to take all possible precautions against air attack.

"We must consider measures to deal appropriately with whatever situations may arise," said a Defense Ministry spokesman, who declined to comment directly on the report.

A "Summit Unit" made up of air, ground and sea troops is also to be set up to respond immediately to any eventuality, the Sankei Shimbun said.

An outer layer of Defense against ballistic missiles is provided by ship-based SM-3 missiles. Japan became the United States' closest missile Defense ally after North Korea fired a ballistic missile across the country in 1998, which landed in the Pacific Ocean.

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