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(Update) Kono Reports Withdrawal of Aegis Ashore Plan

(Update) Kono Reports Withdrawal of Aegis Ashore Plan

   Tokyo, June 25 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono said Thursday the National Security Council has decided to scrap a plan to deploy the Aegis Ashore land-based missile defense system in Akita and Yamaguchi prefectures.
   At a joint meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's National Defense Division and Research Commission on National Security, Kono reported that the NSC made the decision at Wednesday's meeting.
   After the LDP meeting, Kono told reporters that the Defense Ministry considered candidate locations other than Akita and Yamaguchi for deploying the U.S.-developed missile interceptor system. But the ministry concluded that it is "extremely difficult to find an alternative location," he said.
   An official decision to scrap the deployment plan will be made at a cabinet meeting in the foreseeable future.
   At the LDP meeting, the defense minister explained that it came to light in late May that it would take over 10 more years and at least 220 billion yen in additional costs to ensure that an interceptor missile's booster drops on a safe location. He offered an apology for missteps of the ministry.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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