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Japan Unable To Intercept Missiles Fired At US

In the latest exercise, the allies calculated information on a hostile missile's path and then shared the data with Abe's office, the US Navy's Seventh Fleet said in a statement. It said the drill on Friday involved four ships equipped with the Aegis radar detection system -- three from the United States and one from Japan.
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) July 10, 2007
Japan said Tuesday it was technically unable to shoot down a missile fired over its territory at the United States, even as it moves to be legally able to do so. The admission came as the US military said it held its latest exercise with Japan aimed at improving coordination in the event of a missile launch. North Korea lobbed a missile over Japan's main island in 1998.

"The missile system that our country is now introducing is aimed consistently at defending our country," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a written reply to questions from an opposition lawmaker.

"But since missiles heading to other countries are supposed to fly fairly high, technically it is extremely difficult to intercept such missiles," the statement said.

Japan relies on US protection under a security alliance reached after World War II, when Washington forced Tokyo to renounce war.

Since taking office last year, Abe has tried to shed legacies of defeat, moving to revise the US-imposed pacifist constitution and to build a more reciprocal relationship with Washington.

Abe has appointed a panel to find the legal grounds to allow Japan to shoot down a missile aimed at the US without violating the existing constitution.

Successive governments have interpreted the constitution as permitting Japan to use force to defend itself but not its allies.

The two countries have been stepping up cooperation since last July when North Korea tested an updated version of the missile it launched in 1998.

In the latest exercise, the allies calculated information on a hostile missile's path and then shared the data with Abe's office, the US Navy's Seventh Fleet said in a statement.

It said the drill on Friday involved four ships equipped with the Aegis radar detection system -- three from the United States and one from Japan.

"The timeline for us to determine the path missiles travel in is very short," US Lieutenant Commander Michael Weatherford said in the statement. "You need to be able to share information quickly so the leaders can make decisions in a timely manner."

It said the exercise was the fifth of its kind since September.

Japan's annual defence report warned last week that North Korea is improving its missile system to cover all east Asia, including Japan, and potentially reach the northern tip of Australia as well as parts of Alaska.

North Korea also tested an atom bomb last year, but pledged to disable its nuclear reactor in a six-nation deal reached in February.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Global Missile Defense System Could Be Created By 2020 Says Ivanov
Petropavlovsk, Russia (RIA Novosti) Jul 10, 2007
A global missile defense system proposed by Russia could be created by 2020, a Russian first deputy prime minister said Sunday. "We are proposing to create a single missile defense system for all participants with equal access to the system's control," Sergei Ivanov said in a televised interview with the Vesti Nedeli program on Rossiya television channel.







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