Japan’s announcement to cancel the $2.15 billion Aegis Ashore missile defence system is rooted in a fix costing nearly 200 Billion yen (US$1.87Bn) to avoid boosters separating from missiles to fall near populated areas.
The fix would have led the boosters to fall within the Ground Self Defence Force (GSDF) facility where the Aegis Ashore system was to be installed in Yamaguchi and Akita Prefectures.
“In late May this year, the (defence) ministry learned through talks with the United States that it would take about 12 years and cost over 200 billion yen to revise the system to ensure the missile boosters fall within the GSDF training area,” Japan Times reported Saturday.
Defence Minister Taro Kano visited Yamaguchi Friday to apologize to communities affected by the government’s decision to suddenly cancel the Ageis Ashore missile defence project. “We deeply apologise for reaching a conclusion like this,” Kano is quoted as having said in meeting with Yamaguchi governor.
The governor is reported to have criticized the government for failing to detect a danger “directly linked to residents’ lives”.
Residents of both prefectures have been up in arms over the Aegis Ashore deployment which they feared would cause noise pollution. The revelation that the missile debris would have fallen on residential areas is bound to add fuel to their anger.
The US approved a $2.15 billion deal in January 2019 to install the Aegis Ashore system to provide missile defence coverage over all of Japan.