Japan has started training its troops Thursday to use Patriot air-and-missile defense systems against a threat from North Korea.
"The one-hour exercise took place at the Komaki base in the Aichi prefecture. There was no live fire," NHK news service reported Thursday.
Japanese self-defense forces reportedly drove the system to the base, prepared it for the launch and pointed the missiles toward the sky.
Two more drills will take place at other bases in Japan. They were called by the Defense Ministry after North Korea conducted a series of missile tests this year, with several projectiles plunging into waters in Japan’s exclusive economic zone.
The Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) is a high-velocity interceptor that can defend against tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and planes.
Japan's Defense Minister Tomomi said it was important to hone tactical skills, citing a severe security climate.
The 10-day exercise is scheduled to begin Thursday and will take place on four Japanese military bases across the country, television network NHK reported Tuesday.
The Defense Ministry also plans to hold joint drills with the United States. There are currently 17 PAC-3 units operating nationwide. In 2016, Japan allocated more funds toward missile defense systems in response to North Korea's continued nuclear and missile provocations.
Last year Tokyo was planning the deployment of the Patriot Advanced Capability Missile Segment Enhancement, a missile interceptor.
The PAC-3 MSE reportedly has a wider range and altitude than the PAC-3.
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