The Defense Ministry is planning to deploy missile batteries in central Tokyo within three years to shield the capital from potential attacks, informed sources said.
The move is designed to beef up the capital’s defenses against ballistic missiles from North Korea, the sources said.
The plan makes use of the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile defense system, which would be deployed at the Self-Defense Forces’ headquarters in the Ichigaya district in Shinjuku Ward as early as fiscal 2017.
Construction of the facilities will begin this fall, they said.
If ballistic missiles look like they’re headed for Japanese territory, the SDF will first order Aegis-equipped destroyers to shoot them down from space using Standard Missile-3 interceptors.
If that fails, the PAC-3 is the next line of defense, but its missiles only have a range of about 20 km.
PAC-3 batteries have been deployed to four places near Tokyo, including the SDF’s Narashino camp in Chiba Prefecture and the Iruma Base in Saitama. Tokyo has none.
In April 2013, PAC-3 interceptors were tentatively shifted to the SDF’s Ichigaya base from Narashino amid more bellicose rhetoric from North Korea.
The ministry has concluded that shifting PAC-3 batteries to Tokyo only when necessary is not sufficient to protect the capital, the sources said.