National / Politics

North Korea blasts Japan's Aegis Ashore missile shield plans

Kyodo

North Korea’s ruling party newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, has criticized in a commentary plans by the Japanese government to deploy a land-based missile shield, alleging that the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ambitions to become a “military giant.”

The commentary Saturday called the North Korea-focused justifications for the Aegis Ashore system offered by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera “just a sly trick of the Japanese regime to calm down the growing concern and discontent of the citizens.”

“Japan is trying to disturb the reconciliation and easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” the commentary said.

“Japan had better cool down its head heated up with the wild ambition for a military giant and keep its step with the regional trend oriented to peace, though belatedly,” it added.

The government is pushing to install the Aegis Ashore missile batteries in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures to strengthen Japan’s defenses against potential threats from North Korea. The system was developed by U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

But many residents around the candidate sites have criticized the move out of concern that the government has failed to provide sufficient explanations of the deployment plan and how it will impact their communities.