The Air Self-Defense Force on Monday conducted a missile interceptor drill near a nuclear plant on the coast facing the Sea of Japan, amid caution over North Korea's repeated ballistic missile test-firings.

The nonlive fire exercise involving the ASDF's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system was held in Fukui Prefecture, which hosts a number of nuclear plants.

During the exercise, trucks carrying two interceptor launch pads were set up on a beach 7 kilometers south of Kansai Electric Power's Oi nuclear plant by 35 personnel, who finished their preparations in about 20 minutes.

"We need to deploy (the PAC-3 system) smoothly and anywhere," Lt. Col. Takashi Chikama, who commanded the drill, told reporters. "North Korea has launched missiles at an unprecedented pace in recent years."

Since the beginning of this year, North Korea has fired a spate of ballistic missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, in violation of U.N. resolutions.

The PAC-3 is designed to shoot down approaching missiles that evade sea-based interceptors fired from the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Aegis destroyers.