Japan will provide U.S. forces with information obtained from planned Aegis Ashore ground-based missile defense systems when necessary, Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya said at a news conference Tuesday.
The comment suggests there is a possibility that the Aegis Ashore systems would serve as a radar for ballistic missiles directed at the United States, sources familiar with the situation said.
Tokyo claims that the Aegis Ashore deployment is designed to respond to possible North Korean ballistic missiles directed toward Japan.
Japan plans to deploy one Aegis Ashore system each to Akita Prefecture and Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Iwaya also said that it is possible for Japan to shoot down missiles targeted at the United States by exercising its right to collective self-defense if Japan’s “survival” is at stake, based on a new government interpretation of the war-renouncing Article 9 of the Constitution.