Vice Foreign Minister Shunji Yanai on Monday denied a report that Japan and the U.S. signed a memorandum of understanding on joint research for a proposed theater missile defense system at a meeting last week.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura, Defense Agency chief Fukushiro Nukaga, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen agreed to promote joint TMD research in their meeting last week.

Yanai said the United States has also denied such a report. Calls for the system have increased following Pyongyang’s launch of a rocket over Japan on Aug. 31.

Yanai said the agreement does not mean Tokyo has formally decided to promote research for the system in the next fiscal year, which begins next April 1.

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