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Japan Deploys Patriot Batteries to Tokyo to Counter North Korean Missile Threat

12 August 2017, 09:50 | Terri Saunders

Japan Deploys Patriot Batteries to Tokyo to Counter North Korean Missile Threat

Japan Deploys Patriot Batteries to Tokyo to Counter North Korean Missile Threat

Many fallout shelters - created to protect people from nuclear weapon attacks - were built as the USA and Soviet Union raced to develop atomic weapons during the Cold War, which spanned from the late '40s to early '90s. If realized, it would be her first trip to Japan since she took power in July previous year.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has assessed that North Korea's Hwasong-14/KN20 intercontinental-range ballistic missile (ICBM) test launch on July 28 failed to demonstrate successful atmospheric reentry, The Diplomat has learned.

Abe and May last met in early July on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

She pointed to a review of the nation's ballistic missile defense that is underway at the Pentagon, and said that is likely to provide "a pathway forward to further missile defense improvements". So far, the system has a ideal 14-out-of-14 record in tests since 2005. The payoff, of course, is protection from enemy ballistic missiles, which proved deadly in the first Gulf War despite attempts to shoot them down. They can hit intermediate-range missiles in midcourse, according to Laura Grego, senior scientist at the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Some missiles, like the retired Pershing II, can steer during this part of the flight, called the "terminal phase"; that is not true of the Hwasong-12, whose final destination is determined entirely by course corrections when its engines are still running. The U.S. Navy does not typically disclose the exact positions of its warships, but several Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which are equipped with SM-3s, are permanently based in the western Pacific.

On the other hand, if they try to intercept the missiles but fail, it could undermine the credibility of both countries' assurances that their antimissile systems can work.

Japan Deploys Patriot Batteries to Tokyo to Counter North Korean Missile Threat
Japan Deploys Patriot Batteries to Tokyo to Counter North Korean Missile Threat

Guam is home to a U.S. air base, a Navy installation, a Coast Guard group and roughly 6,000 United States military personnel.

The system is useful against conventional weapons. In May, the antimissile system was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and successfully intercepted a target ICBM fired from the Marshall Islands.

This complicates any United States effort to take out the missiles.

Defenses that target missiles while they are still climbing - before any decoys or countermeasures are released - could in theory get around the problem of decoys and other countermeasures.

"To be perfectly honest, I didn't think it would come this fast" that the country became focused on escalating North Korean nuclear capabilities, he said. Drones could do the same job, but Grego said she isn't sure the technology is ready. "The problem with boost phase is that you only have a few minutes (to react), so you have to be close by".

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