The mayor of a town in Yamaguchi Prefecture that was named in May as a potential host site for an Aegis Ashore missile defense battery unit, said Thursday that he opposes the deployment, after the municipality adopted a petition against the plan.

"(The site) is close to a residential area, and it goes against our policy of building a town that cares for nature and people," Mayor Norihiko Hanada said at a plenary session of the Abu Municipal Assembly, which unanimously adopted a petition earlier in the day that called for the Defense Ministry to retract its Aegis Ashore deployment plan.

"It is the responsibility of the town mayor to remove any threat to residents' safety," he said.