Japan halts deployment of Aegis anti-missile system – Asia Times

In a major reversal of an unpopular multibillion-dollar missile defense system provided by the United States, Japan has decided it’s simply not worth it.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters that he decided to “stop the deployment process” of the Aegis Ashore systems after it was found that a hardware redesign is needed to ensure that rocket debris doesn’t endanger residents near the facilities, and that such work would be too time consuming and costly, China Daily reported.

“Considering the cost and time it would require, I had no choice but judge that pursuing the plan is not logical,” Kono said.

The Japanese government decided in 2017 to deploy two Aegis Ashore batteries to bolster the country’s current defenses consisting of Aegis-equipped destroyers at sea and Patriot missiles on land, China Daily reported.

The two Aegis Ashore units, to be based in Yamaguchi Prefecture in the south and in Akita Prefecture in the north, were supposed to cover the whole of Japan and be capable of intercepting ballistic missiles.

With an advanced radar system and SM-3 interceptor missiles, they were intended to be part of Japan’s three-layer missile defense, alongside the Aegis destroyers and the land-based PAC-3 interceptor system, China Daily reported.

However, the deployment of Aegis Ashore had faced a series of setbacks from the outset, including questions on site selections and upward revisions on cost estimates last put at 450 billion yen (US$4.1 billion) for