On June 15, Defense Minister Taro Kono made a surprise announcement that Japan would suspend the deployment of the U.S.-developed Aegis Ashore missile interception system, citing huge costs as well as local opposition.

But the controversial Aegis Ashore program had long been troubled by doubts about whether it was even needed and bungling by the Defense Ministry. Here’s a look at what led to the cancellation, and what it might mean.

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