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Japan deploys Patriot Missiles to defend Tokyo from North Korean attack

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As a sign that the world is taking North Korea's military threats very seriously, Japan has deployed Patriot missiles in and around central Tokyo. The deployment is intended as a defensive measure should the bellicose nation decide to launch an attack amid rising tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the defense ministry, Tokyo has moved three Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile launchers. Two more batteries are expected to be stationed at other places.

The missiles are to defend the headquarters of the defense ministry and key military installations, as well as the 30 million people who live in greater Tokyo.

"We are proceeding with measures including deployment of PAC-3 as we are on alert," Tokyo's Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, adding that another unit would be stationed in Okinawa prefecture as "the place that is most effective in responding to emergencies."

The latest move is evidence that Japan could be preparing for the worst, after discounting previous threats from North Korea. 

Tokyo had already deployed Aegis class destroyers equipped with missile interceptors in the Sea of Japan to counter the North Korean threats, and authorized its forces to shoot down any missile emanating from North Korea. 

"The government is making utmost efforts to protect our people's lives and ensure their safety. As North Korea keeps making provocative comments, Japan, cooperating with relevant countries, will do what we have to do. For the moment, the most important thing is to implement sanctions under the U.N. Security Council resolutions," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters.

Security remains tight among Japan's latest military move in order to keep further movements confidential. "We'd like to refrain from explaining further because it would give away details of the cards we hold. At any rate, we have taken thorough measures to ensure the safety of the people," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga says.

The announcement came after Seoul-based reports suggested that North Korea has moved two medium-range missiles off its eastern coast.

While former North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung's birthday falls on April 15, experts believe Pyongyang's current leadership may resort to provocative actions coinciding with the occasion to boost its own reputation domestically.

War clouds have begun to gather after North Korea told foreign diplomatic missions within the country to consider evacuating their staff before April 10, citing the prospect of an imminent war.

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