Norihiko Hanada, mayor of Abu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has petitioned the central government to scrap its plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system within the prefecture.

The Defense Ministry plans to deploy Aegis Ashore units at the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Mutsumi training area in Hagi, Yamaguchi, and the Araya training area in Akita, the capital of the prefecture of the same name.

The Mutsumi training area is adjacent to Abu.

“We can’t accept the deployment, which would be a crisis posing a life-or-death question to our town,” Hanada said during a Friday meeting with Kenji Harada, state minister of defense.

Harada, however, sought the understanding of the mayor and the town.

“We hope you’ll let us explain carefully so that anxieties and concerns among local people are swept away,” he said.

Harada plans to visit each of the prefectures where the systems will be deployed, on Monday and Tuesday, to report the results of local environmental surveys.

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