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Tue, Jun 27, 2006

North Korea Missile Moves Prompt Japan To Take Action

Agrees To US Deployment Of PAC-3s, Moves Up Planned Radar Tests

In the latest development over North Korea's threatened test of its Taepodong-2 long range ICBM, neighboring Japan has agreed to allow the United States to deploy Patriot interceptor missiles on American bases by the end of the year.

The agreement, reached this weekend, marks the first time the two sides have reached an accord on placing batteries of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles on Japanese soil. The missiles are designed to intercept ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or aircraft... surely a matter on the minds of the Japanese lately, in light of North Korea's recent saber-rattling.

In fact, Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports Tokyo and Washington have also signed an agreement to expand their cooperation on a joint ballistic missile defense shield, committing themselves to joint production of interceptor missiles.

That's not all. The US is also reportedly moving up its planned test of a missile-detecting radar system in northern Japan, according to the Kyoto News agency. The test run of the high-resolution X-Band radar system was initially scheduled to begin weeks later... but was moved up after North Korea made moves to launch the upgraded ICBM.

And speaking of the Taepodong-2... at this writing, the missile is still on its launchpad on the country's northeastern coast, attracting almost as much attention just sitting there as it would if North Korea presses ahead with the launch... which, of course, is exactly the point.

FMI: www.globalsecurity.org

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