The government said Friday it will permanently deploy Patriot antimissile batteries in Okinawa amid repeated threats by North Korea to launch missiles that could strike anywhere in Japan.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the Self-Defense Forces will locate Patriot Advanced Capability-3 batteries at its two bases in Okinawa "as soon as possible within April."

The SDF has previously transported the missiles to the prefecture in response to specific threats. The interceptors were not fired during the previous two temporary deployments for missile tests by North Korea.