TOKYO - Japan finished deploying interceptors on Saturday along the possible path of North Korean ballistic missiles Pyongyang has threatened to launch toward the US Pacific territory of Guam.
The deployment of the surface-to-air missile defense system in western Japan came after North Korea said it is "seriously examining" a plan to simultaneously fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles over western Japan in an "enveloping strike at Guam."
The Air Self-Defense Force's Patriot Advanced Capability-3 system was deployed in the western prefectures of Shimane, Hiroshima and Kochi, which North Korea said its missiles could cross over, as well as Ehime which is located between Hiroshima and Kochi.
The government wants to be prepared in the event that, should North Korea fire the missiles, they fail as they cross over Japan. No PAC-3 units are regularly stationed in the four prefectures.
Japan's missile defense scheme employs Maritime Self-Defense Force Aegis destroyers to shoot down airborne missiles, and the ASDF's PAC-3 system to counter missiles that evade Aegis interceptors.