The Defense Ministry has decided to permanently base surface-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in Okinawa to intercept any ballistic missiles headed toward Japan.
The PAC-3 missiles will be deployed at Naha Air Base and Chinen Sub-Base, both on the main Okinawa island, from late April or so.
Initial plans called for deploying the missiles in Okinawa by the end of fiscal 2014.
However, ministry officials decided to relocate PAC-3 missiles from the Hamamatsu Air Base in Shizuoka Prefecture to Okinawa due to North Korea's ballistic missile launches in April and December last year and its recent threat to launch more.
In the past, PAC-3 missiles were shipped to Okinawa whenever North Korea announced the projected trajectory of a planned missile launch.
Sixteen PAC-3 missiles have already been set up at 11 bases on the main Japanese islands.
It was also decided to deploy the PAC-3 on the grounds of the Defense Ministry in Tokyo's Ichigaya district from April 9.
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